Paris, Feb.6 (ANI): French President Nicolas Sarkozy is being accused of being "at the heart" of a political scandal involving claims that 11 French submarine engineers were murdered in Karachi to punish France for failing to pay secret arms contract "commissions" to senior Pakistani officials.
Although the May 2002 bomb attack was blamed on al-Qaeda terrorists, The Telegraph quotes investigating judges as saying there would be a "cruel logic" if it was in fact ordered by disgruntled members of the Pakistani establishment.he claims of multiple murder, corruption and bribery are threatening to, at the very least, severely embarrass Sarkozy and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari.
The judges are said to be investigating the possibility that the bomb blast may have been retaliation for the non-payment of part of the 80 million euros in sweeteners that were allegedly expected by senior officials when Pakistan bought three Agosta attack submarines from France in 1994.
The dead engineers were working on the submarine contract for DCN, the French naval shipbuilding enterprise.
Documents seized by French police allege that part of the "commissions" - legal under French law at the time - were illegally siphoned off to help finance the 1994 presidential campaign of the then prime minister, Edouard Balladur.
When Jacques Chirac won the election the following spring, it is alleged that he punished his one-time ally Balladur, for running against him by halting the remaining payments to senior Pakistani figures.
Chirac's then defence minister Charles Million reportedly claimed he was ordered to block the Pakistani commissions and all other arms payments on which "retro-commissions" to France were suspected.
When the 825 million-euro submarine sale was negotiated, Sarkozy was the budget minister and manager of Balladur's presidential campaign.
The Elysie has denied Sarkozy was aware of an alleged kickbacks system and threatened to sue for slander. (ANI)