'I have documents which proves Zardari received millions in kickbacks', says French journalist

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Lahore, Nov.13 (ANI): French journalist Guillaume Dasquie has said he has documents to prove that Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari did receive millions of rupees as kickbacks during the purchase of three submarines from France in 1994.

Dasquie, who works with the leading French newspaper, Liberation, told a private television channel that he is absolutely certain that Zardari made big money from the submarine deal.

"The newspaper (Liberation) had received documents from London and Switzerland and it was clear that Zardari received a 'lot of money' from the submarine deal," The Daily Times quoted Zardari, as saying.

Earlier this week, the French newspaper had reported that investigations have revealed that Zardari received 4.3 million dollars in kickbacks from the sale of three Agosta 90 submarines for 825 million euros (approx. 1.237 billion dollars at current exchange rate).

The newspaper said that Pakistani National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was alerted about the massive scam way back in 2001.

The British authorities told the NAB that Zardari had received several large payments into his Swiss bank accounts from a Lebanese businessman, Abdulrahman el-Assir, during 1994 and 1995.

According to a former official of French naval defence company DCN, French authorities had selected Assir to act as intermediary in the deal.

He allegedly deposited a total of 1.3 million dollars in Zardari's bank accounts between August 15 and 30, 1994, a month before the submarine deal was finalised. An additional 1.2 million dollars and 1.8 million dollars were deposited in Zardari's account a year later.

The newspaper report also revealed that investigators believe that the non-payment of the full amount of the agreed kickbacks may have led to the deaths of 11 French national in a suicide attack in Karachi in 2002.

Islamabad, however, has rebuked the reports terming it as a 'conspiracy' and an attempt to defame the President. (ANI)

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