A French lawyer and former aide to Jacques Chirac says the ex-president of the country and his prime minister received millions of euros in cash from despotic leaders of African nations.
Robert Bourgi, who served as an adviser to Chirac and former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin before switching sides and joining the conservative camp of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, alleged on Sunday that several African governments had handed “briefcases” of cash to former officials of France, AFP reported.
However, the report does not at all mention what the despotic, Western-backed leaders of the poor African nations expected to get in return for pumping such large sums of money into election campaigns in France, one of Europe’s richest countries.
According to Bourgi, he “took part in handing over several briefcases to Jacques Chirac in person, at Paris city hall” in the 1980s and 1990s.
“There was never less than five million francs (more than 750,000 euros). It could go up to 15 million,” he noted, adding “I remember the first handing over of funds in Villepin’s presence. The money came from Marshal Mobutu (Sese Seko), president of Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo).”
Both Chirac and his prime minister at the time, who may run for the next year’s presidential elections in France, have rejected the allegations.
The current President of Senegal Abdoulaye Wade, former President of Burkina Faso Blaise Compaore, Ivory Coast’s ousted President Laurent Gbagbo, and Gabon’s Omar Bongo were among the African leaders that attended Villepin’s office for talks, Bourgi further explained.
The delivered cash amounted to “several million francs a year. More during elections,” the ex-advisor claimed.
Meanwhile, Mamadou Koulibaly, a former aide to deposed Ivorian leader Gbagbo, has confirmed Bourgi’s claims against Chirac, revealing that “around two billion West African francs (around three million euros) [was] brought from [Ivory Coast’s] Abidjan to Paris in a suitcase” in 2002.
“I told the president (Gbagbo) that we’re a poor country and we shouldn’t have to pay to finance elections for politicians in rich countries,” Koulibaly added.
Chirac, 78, failed to attend his corruption trial last week due to health issues. He stands accused over alleged ghost jobs created during his time as Paris Mayor during the 1980s and 1990s.
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