Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pasqua French ex-minister acquitted of charges of arms trafficking to Angola

Paris .- The French former Minister of Interior Charles Pasqua was acquitted today in the case of arms sales to Angola in the 90's, known as "Angolagate", which at first instance had been sentenced to one year in jail. The Paris Court of Appeal reduced all the sentences imposed by the Corrections in October 2009, including the two main defendants, businessmen Pierre Falcone and Arcadi Gaydamak.

Both were accused of having sold weapons to the guerrilla camp Eduardo dos Santos, Angola's current president during the civil war who lived in the country, under an arms embargo. In the first instance were sentenced to six years in prison to consider the judges who had a profit of nearly 400 million dollars for this illegal sale.

But the Court of Appeal did not hold the charge of smuggling of weapons and they considerably reduced the sentences imposed only for abuse of social goods. Falcone, who was in prison, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and 375,000 euro fine, a punishment that he had already served. The Russian-born Israeli Gaydamak, who is fleeing from justice, was sentenced to a similar, so the Court held the arrest warrant against him.

As for Pasqua, the judges acquitted of the charge of influence peddling that had earned him a sentence in first instance. The former Minister of Interior was convicted of having paid 225,000 euros to Gaydamak, according to the indictment for his role in selling arms to Angola, according to the applicant for his role in the release of French hostages in Bosnia.

Appeal held that one can not establish any link between the payment and the case of arms sales. Pasqua, who from the beginning of research in 2000 was the victim of a plot, said it will take to court those who have stained his name over the years. According to former interior minister, if the former president mounted the Frenchman, Jacques Chirac, to discredit him politically and to prevent the Presidential submission to 2002.

In general, Appeal dismissed charges of selling weapons despite acknowledging that it was worth 793 million euros, including assault tanks or Kalashnikov. However, the judges state that the sale had the support of the Angolan authorities, so that Falcone and Gaydamak had immunity. An authorization was not recognized in the first instance, which led to a diplomatic row between Paris and Luanda.

Appeals court declares itself incompetent to try the case and notes that enters the field of international law. In the same case was convicted in first instance Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, eldest son of former French, who had to go to prison and did not appeal the sentence. 17 others saw their sentences reduced on appeal, convicted of crimes of commission charges.

No comments:

Post a Comment