On Thursday March 4th 2021 the Cour de Justice de la République (CJR) – which tries cases of alleged ministerial misconduct – cleared former French prime minister Édouard Balladur of any wrongdoing in the long-running Karachi affair. At the same time it found Balladur's former defence minister François Léotard guilty of complicity in the misuse of assets and handed him a two-year suspended prison sentence. The verdicts were much more lenient than those for ministerial aides in the earlier criminal trial involving the same affair. Karl Laske wonders how long the hybrid CJR court, most of whose 'judges' are politicians, can survive.
They also said the 91-year old, tried on charges he used kickbacks from 1990s arms deals to help finance a presidential bid in what has become known as the Karachi affair, should also pay a fine of 50,000 euros.
Former French prime minister Édouard Balladur, 91, is to stand trial on Tuesday on charges he funded his 1995 presidential campaign with secret kickbacks from French arms sales abroad, as part of a scandal that has been dubbed 'the Karachi affair'.
On Monday June 15th 2020 a Paris court handed prison sentences to six men found guilty of organising a vast political funding scam involving kickbacks on French weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in what has become known as the 'Karachi Affair'. It was the first time in France that a criminal court has established that a presidential election campaign – in this case involving Édouard Balladur in 1995 – was funded by kickbacks from state arms deals. It is, says Mediapart's Fabrice Arfi, an object lesson in the weaknesses of a democracy in the face of corruption.
A trial is underway in Paris into the financial aspects of the so-called Karachi affair, which involves allegations of illegal kickbacks paid in relation to French defence contracts with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in the 1990s. The case has witnessed two very different worlds coming together in the same courtroom. On the one hand is the white-collar world of power, money and vanity represented by the accused, who were senior French advisors and officials. On the other side is the blue-collar world of workers, represented by the survivors and families of victims of the bus bombing which killed 14 people in Karachi in 2002, including 11 French defence staff who were working on contracts relating to those multi-million euro defence deals. Fabrice Arfi reports.
The trial of six former high-ranking French government officials accused of taking part in the secret siphoning off of funds from arms sales to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to finance the presidential election campaign of former prime minister Edouard Balladur has opened in Paris.
Senior public prosecutor François Molins has concluded that former French prime minister Édouard Balladur and the defence minister who served under him, François Léotard, should be sent for trial for siphoning payments from public weapons contracts with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to fund Balladur’s presidential election campaign. Molins’s formal recommendations follow a lengthy judicial investigation into what has become known in France as “the Karachi affair”, a complex and far-reaching alleged corruption scam which surfaced after the murders of 11 French naval engineers in the Pakistani port city in 2002.
An investigation into claims that kickbacks from French arms deals were illegally used to finance the 1995 presidential campaign of former prime minister Édouard Balladur has been bogged down in legal wrangles since early 2016. Now, however, a senior prosecutor has called for six men said to be at the heart of the corruption scandal known as the 'Karachi affair' to stand trial. Fabrice Arfi reports.
Donald Trump’s election campaign manager Paul Manafort is suspected by a French judicial investigation of having signed a fake contract with Paris-based arms dealer Ziad Takieddine to help the latter hide the real origin of cash seized by customs officers which he had smuggled into France from Switzerland. The incident occurred at the height of what has become known as the “Karachi Affair”, involving suspected illegal funding of former French prime minister Édouard Balladur’s 1995 presidential election campaign. Manafort is also suspected by the investigation of having invoiced the Balladur camp for unnecessary opinion polls during the campaign. Karl Laske and Fabrice Arfi report.
Evidence sought by Paris-based judges leading a highly sensitive judicial investigation into the murders of 11 French naval engineers in Pakistan in 2002, which has exposed a major political corruption scandal in France, has for years been held back by France’s laws protecting defence and security secrecy. The persistent refusal to hand over intelligence documents and the silence of several key witnesses has heightened speculation of an orchestrated cover up to protect political and diplomatic interests. But, Mediapart has learnt, judges Marc Trévedic and Laurence Le Vert have now found a legal loophole with which to overcome the blanket protection of a law too often used to blunt investigations. The breakthrough may at last reveal the truth hidden behind 'The Karachi Affair', a dark and complex case that has rocked France’s political establishment. Fabrice Arfi reports.
At the end of an investigation that has lasted more than three years, six people, including a former minister and the current managing director of luxury goods firm LVMH, have been sent for trial for their alleged roles in a gigantic political funding scam that centred on secret cash kickbacks from French weapons sales abroad. The case, one the biggest political corruption scandals to have emerged in France in recent decades, yet threatens to engulf the political masters of those accused - former French prime minister Édouard Balladur, his defence minister François Léotard, and Balladur’s budget minister, later French president, Nicolas Sarkozy. Fabrice Arfi reports.
Ziad Takieddine, who was a key intermediary between Sarkozy's entourage and the regime of Colonel Gaddafi and an important figure in the alleged illegal funding of the 1995 presidential campaign of Sarkozy’s political mentor and former prime minister Edouard Balladour, has been detained by police who suspect he was preparing to quit the country. The Franco-Lebanese businessman, who is under formal judicial investigation and forbidden to leave France, is said to have paid 200,000 euros to secure a Dominican Republic diplomatic passport (see above). Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske, Michel Deléan and Albert Michel report.
by Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske, Michel Deléan and Albert Michel
A senior French civil servant has told a corruption investigation that former president Nicolas Sarkozy personally authorized the payment of secret commission payments from French armament contracts which are suspected of being used to illegally finance political activity. Mediapart can reveal that Patricia Laplaud, a former budget ministry financial supervisor of armaments sales gave a statement to the investigation, led by two Paris-based judges, in which she says that Sarkozy, when budget minister in 1994, ordered the secret cash transfers despite opposition from his ministerial advisors. Part of the sums were subsequently withdrawn in cash from Swiss bank accounts by Franco-Lebanese arms dealer Ziad Takieddine, who continued to serve until 2009 as an intermediary in weapons contracts organized by Sarkozy’s staff. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.