PARIS: Six people including three former government officials were sent to prison by a court in France’s capital city, Paris, for involvement in millions of euros kickbacks earned through arms sales to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in 1994.
Several French presidents have been inquired about the Karachigate scandal — from Jacques Chirac to Nicolas Sarkozy. The case has put former prime minister Edouard Balladur into quagmire. He is alleged of funding his failed 1995 presidential race attempt through the kickbacks gained from the arms sales. He has claimed that his money came from selling campaign T-shirts, other products and gifts given by his party members.
According to France24, those jailed on Monday include Nicolas Bazire, Balladur’s former campaign manager; Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, a former adviser to his defence minister, François Léotard; and Thierry Gaubert, a former aide to then budget minister Nicolas Sarkozy.
Bazire and Donnedieu de Vabres were given three years jail, while Gaubert and Dominique Castellan were sentenced to two years in prison.
Karachigate scandal or Agosta Submarine scandal is an arms deal case involving payment of massive commissions and kickbacks between France and Pakistan over acquisition of Agosta 90B-class submarines. Administrations of then French president François Mitterrand and prime minister Benazir Bhutto had signed the contract in 1994.
The submarines used the emerging air-independent propulsion proprietary designs, which Pakistan required over the nuclear submarines.