Sarkozy threatens suit over corruption claims

Sarkozy threatens suit over corruption claims 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.