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Karachi attack families take Sarkozy ally to court

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Former Prime Minister Edoaurd Balladur Reuters/Jacky Naegelen

The families of French victims of a 2002 bombing in Pakistan are to take the president of France's National Assembly to court for refusing to hand over evidence given to a parliamentary commission.


 

Families of the 11 French engineers who were among the 15 dead in the suicide bombing in the Pakistani port city of Karachi are to sue Bernard Accoyer, a close ally of President Nicolas Sarkozy.

 
The victims were working for the DCN naval defence company, which is 75 per cent state-owned, on one of three Agosta submarines sold by France to Pakistan.

The attack was at first blamed on armed Islamists. But investigators now suspect that it was a reprisal for then-President Jacques Chirac’s order to stop the payment of commissions linked to the awarding of the contract.

Accoyer has refused to give examining magistrate Marc Trédivic the testimony of some 60 people who gave evidence to the parliamentary inquiry into the affair.

Accoyer says that he cannot do so because of the separation of power between parliament and the judiciary.

But the families accuse him of protecting “a certain number of politicians”.

Evidence already collected allegedly shows that officials who received commissions gave “retrocommissions” to some highly placed individuals in France.

In June, the families unsuccessfully tried to launch an investigation into the attempt by former Prime Minister Edouard Balladur to gain the mainstream right’s nomination as president.
 

Chirac won the nomination – and the election – in 1995. His successor, Nicolas Sarkozy, effectively ran Balladur’s campaign.