October 7, 2008

France’s Former Elite Go on Trial Over Arms Trade

World in brief

PARIS The son of the late President Franois Mitterrand (below), as well as a former interior minister and several other men who were once among France's most powerful went on trial yesterday over the sale of 450m worth of weapons to Angola. The case centres on two arms traders, Pierre Falcone and Arkady Gaydamak, who sold arms to Angola's government during its war against UNITA rebels in the early 1990s. They are accused of paying political contacts to push through deals, as well as of illegal arms trading. The 42 people in the dock include Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, who served as his father's Africa adviser for six years and ex-interior minister Charles Pasqua. Both men, who are suspected of accepting kickbacks to facilitate the deals, deny the charges.

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