French Prez holds millions in Japan bank: Report | india | Hindustan Times
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French Prez holds millions in Japan bank: Report

Investigations have revealed that Jacques Chirac could have stowed away around 57 million Dollars in a bank in Japan.

india Updated: May 09, 2006 23:24 IST

Investigations have revealed that French president Jacques Chirac could have stowed away around 45 million Euros (57 million Dollars) in a bank in Japan.

According to the Canard Enchaine, known for its investigative and irreverent reporting, General Philippe Rondot told magistrates that the amount was paid into an account in Chirac's name at the Tokyo Sowa Bank, by a "cultural foundation".

The weekly said that Chirac's account had been mentioned incidentally during Rondot's questioning, and that there was no suggestion it was linked to the murky scandal rocking his centre-right government.

Members of Chirac's office declined to comment, saying that they had yet to read the article in question.

Rondot was questioned in March as part of a probe into bogus accusations of corruption made against top politicians including Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who were falsely accused of receiving illegal commissions.

Published extracts of Rondot's testimony - which was largely leaked to the press last month - had referred to an account held by Chirac in Japan, but without giving details of the sums held in it.

In extracts printed in Le Monde newspaper, Rondot was quoted as saying that the account was fed by "regular payments of a very large sum from a cultural foundation of whose board Chirac was a member".

Based on testimony by Rondot, who was the defence ministry's intelligence chief from 1997 to 2005, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin faces accusations of having ordered a secret probe into his rival Sarkozy, on Chirac's orders.

Both Villepin and Chirac deny the accusations.

Sarkozy, who believes that he was the target of a top-level smear campaign ahead of next year's presidential election, was interviewed for two hours Tuesday by investigating judges in the case.