Sarkozy aide charged in 'Karachi' graft scandal
30 October, 2012
PARIS: An aide of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was on Monday charged in an illegal political funding scandal known as the "Karachi Affair", a complex probe into alleged kickbacks on arms deals.
Nicolas Bazire, the current number two of luxury group LVMH, was heard by judges for four hours and accused of handling illicit funds used for political campaigns. A former campaign manager for ex-PM Edouard Balladur, Bazire had been under investigation since September. Investigators are looking into irregularities in the financing of Balladur's 1995 presidential campaign. Sarkozy was budget minister at the time.
Judges suspect Balladur's campaign of receiving illicit "retro-commissions" from the sale of French submarines to Pakistan. Two Sarkozy political aides and a former minister are under formal investigation over the affair.