At the ripe old age of 91, former French Prime Minister Edouard Balladur goes on trial over charges he used more than $3 million in kickbacks from an arms deal in 1991 to fund his presidential campaign. The case is known as the “Karachi Affair” as it involved the sale of submarines to Pakistan and frigates to Saudi Arabia. Balladur is on trial along with his former defence minister who is accused of creating an opaque network of intermediaries through whom, presumably, the money was routed.
Two high ranking officials of that time, one of them a campaign manager for Balladur, have already been tried and sentenced to three years in prison. A Lebanese-French intermediary, Ziad Takieddiene, who fled to Lebanon to escape jail, told a French court that he took part in the financing of Balladur’s campaign. Six years later, he took back his claim.
Former president Nicolas Sarkozy is also in the dock, accused of receiving $6 million from late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi for his successful 2006 presidential campaign.