A state scandal involving President Nicolas Sarkozy and other senior figures threatens to explode this week over allegations that political corruption and revenge-taking in France led to the murder of 11 French submarine engineers in Pakistan in 2002.
Former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin spoke on French television news of his "very strong suspicions" that kickbacks were paid to "political and non-political personalities" in France on the €800 million ($1.42 billion) sale of three Agosta 90B submarines to Pakistan in 1994.
Villepin, a visceral enemy of Sarkozy, confirmed that, as President Jacques Chirac's chief of staff, he had been involved in cancelling the Pakistani payments "to help clean up public life" in 1995-96.
He offered to give evidence to French magistrates, who are investigating allegations that the cancellation led to a bomb attack on a bus in Karachi in M
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