Paris: President Nicolas Sarkozy today
threatened to sue a lawyer who accused him of involvement in a
corrupt deal alleged to have been behind a Pakistan bomb
attack that killed 11 French engineers.
Lawyer Olivier Morice, representing the engineers'
families, said Sarkozy was "at the heart" of the deal in which
illegal kickbacks were paid as part of a French contract to
build submarines for Pakistan.
Relatives of those killed in the May 2002 attack on
their bus in Karachi believe Pakistani agents took revenge
after a new French government cancelled the kickbacks.
"Olivier Morice has made remarks that directly target
the head of state, are libellous, and cannot be condoned as
the legitimate expression of the victims' grief," said a
statement from the Elysee Presidential palace.
"The President reserves the right to take legal action
and categorically refutes these allegations," it added.
On Monday, six families filed suit in Paris against
supporters of former Presidential candidate Edouard Balladur,
who was Prime Minister at the time, alleging they also
benefited from the deal.
In 1995, Sarkozy was budget minister and government
spokesman under Balladur and later became his campaign
spokesman when Balladur mounted his bid for the presidency,
challenging Jacques Chirac.
First Published: Thursday, December 17, 2009, 20:06