Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
03:54 PM Beirut time
30 °C
Blom Index
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
French ex-PM questioned in scam investigation
FILE -  A picture taken on February 28, 2012 in Craon shows France's former Prime minister Dominique de Villepin. (AFP PHOTO / JEAN FRANCOIS MONIER)
FILE - A picture taken on February 28, 2012 in Craon shows France's former Prime minister Dominique de Villepin. (AFP PHOTO / JEAN FRANCOIS MONIER)
A+ A-

PARIS: French former Prime Minister and one-time presidential hopeful Dominique de Villepin was taken into police custody Tuesday for questioning by magistrates investigating a suspected financial scam involving a luxury hotels network.

Villepin, who served under former President Jacques Chirac, as his chief-of-staff, foreign minister and ultimately prime minister from 2005 to 2007, was questioned about his links with a man suspected of financial fraud, a police spokesman said.

The 58-year-old, best known internationally for announcing Chirac’s refusal to join a war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in an impassioned speech at the United Nations in 2003, denied any wrongdoing when the fraud affair surfaced last December.

Magistrates are investigating whether a friend and political backer of Villepin siphoned off large sums of money when he was in charge of an association of luxury hotels called Relais & Chateaux.

Villepin was dragged into the probe after police phone taps exposed links between him and the man at the center of the probe, Regis Bulot, president of the Relais & Chateaux network until 2006 and a member of a Villepin support club.

The affair surfaced when Villepin was on the verge of entering the May presidential election race, a move he ultimately abandoned. When he was linked to the case in December he told the Le Monde daily newspaper: “It’s unbearable that I am being implicated in a matter I have nothing to do with.”

Le Monde said at the time that it had access to phone tap records that raised police suspicion about possible attempts by Villepin to influence judicial inquiries into Bulot.

Villepin, a prolific writer who has a legal firm of his own, has gone from one judicial imbroglio to another since his time as prime minister ended and his presidential ambitions started to take shape.

A year ago, an appeals court cleared him of charges of involvement in a smear campaign against arch-foe Nicolas Sarkozy.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 12, 2012, on page 10.
Home International

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus

Baabda 2014
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Thursday April 24, 2014
View all view all
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Israel shows Zionism’s true colors
Michael Young
Michael Young
For Christians, blessed are the dividers
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
An Iran deal is close, but we’re not there yet
View all view all
Click to View Articles
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS