Edouard Balladur and François Léotard finally fixed on their fate

Photo montage of the two defendants in the “Karachi affair” trial: Edouard Balladur and François Léotard.

One harbored great hopes, the other expected nothing from the Court of Justice of the Republic (CJR). From this point of view, the decision rendered, Thursday March 4, by this court empowered to judge former ministers, did not disappoint, to put it mildly, Yves de Belloy, one of Edouard Balladur’s lawyers. The former prime minister, 91, absent from the hearing, was acquitted of all charges brought against him: complicity and concealment of abuse of property or the credit of two public companies. Justice “Finally recognize my innocence”, he responded in a statement, adding: “I regret that it took a quarter of a century of self-serving and organized slander to get there. “

In short, it is not for nothing in the abusive retrocommission system set up on the occasion of arms contracts between France and Pakistan or Saudi Arabia in the mid-1990s. In addition, traceability of the 10 million francs which came opportunely to fill the deficit of its accounts of the unfortunate presidential campaign of 1995, resulting in theory from these retrocommissions, is not established, estimated the Court. Olivier Morice, the lawyer for the families of the victims of the Karachi attack, committed in 2002 in Pakistan, who “Expected nothing” therefore of the CJR, he asked in front of the press the pure and simple abolition of this institution. He considers it too lenient, without however overwhelming Mr. Balladur with any responsibility whatsoever for the attack. ” We never said that! “, he assures.

Read also Understanding the Karachi Affair in 6 episodes

“I am ashamed for French justice”

The most furious of all is of course François Léotard, 78, also absent, and found guilty of the charges of which Mr. Balladur was cleared. The former Minister of Defense is sentenced to two years in prison with a suspended sentence of 100,000 euros, following the requisitions of the prosecution. He immediately expressed his anger in a press release sent to Agence France-Presse: “I am ashamed of French justice and its dangerous drifts. I will always defend the freedom of political decision ”. Mr. Léotard, who cannot legally appeal the decision of the CJR, immediately announced his cassation appeal.

His case was resolved fairly quickly. According to the Court, it is established that Mr. Léotard, to whom Ziad Takieddine, an old acquaintance, appeared in May 1993 to play the role of intermediary in the arms markets, introduced the latter and his two acolytes of the “K network” with his close advisor to the ministry, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres. That he placed at the head of Sofresa, the French company for the export of weapons systems, a man of confidence, who died in 2011, Jacques Douffiagues. “I trust him post-mortem”, he had declared at the hearing. However, it has signed exorbitant “consultant” contracts with the K network, the usefulness of which has never been demonstrated. Not content to unnecessarily increase the burden for the Directorate of Naval Construction (DCNI), he added riders just as ruinous: acceleration of payment for intermediaries and increase in their percentage.

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