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When Chirac and Balladur fight over the slush funds (PART 4)

INQUIRY ON THE DCN AND THALES / mardi 22 juillet 2008 par Nicolas Beau, Laurent Léger
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Bakchich tells the backstage story about the frigate sales, submarines, torpedo boats and other military boats : many juicy markets signed by our politicians and industrialists. The fight that tore the right-wing apart for the 1995 presidential elections kept going on for the sharing of the commissions on those boat contracts. Since Chirac’s election, the middlemen that were still following Balladur’s ideal were fired. They even sent them a security company to scare them a little…

Jacques Chirac elected at the Elysée made a huge mess in the main weaponry contracts of the ‘90s ; the “mammoths” contract as the specialist say. A study published in 2003 by the historical department of the Ministry of Defense (a very serious department of the ministry) even showed it : “Take note that on Jacques Chirac’s own initiative, some amendments were done to the Sawari II contract. The new French head of state obtained in particular the decrease of the amount of the commissions paid to the middlemen”. Everything is in it, but that famous research has since then been removed from the ministries’ website. This looked messy…

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The King Chirac ready to do anything for a little bit of Saudi gold @ Khalid

Bakchich told in the previous articles about Balladur’s governments rush to reap juicy contracts (an endorsement to Taiwan’s frigate market, other frigates sold to Saudi Arabia, submarines to Pakistan, a total of 3.9 billion Euros worth of material) before the 1995 presidential elections which didn’t leave anything to chance. Of course, for the image, the results are great : jobs are being kept in the armories thanks to those million of hours that it will take to manufacture these beautiful engines.

Commissions for Balladur’s campaign ?

Doubt was on everyone’s mind : Balladur would have supposedly used these contracts to finance his campaign. Have the commissions received by the winning team, the middlemen Ali Bin Mussalam and Ziad Takieddine ended up in Balladur follower’s pocket ? No judicial investigation has tried to figure this out but for Chirac there is no doubt. The new president even told King Fahd : “There will be nothing left for Balladur”.

Keys to understand the dirty tricks

In 1995, Edouard Balladur is against Jacques Chirac for the presidential elections. The Prime minister’s team is lead by three influential ministers, François Léotard, Charles Pasqua and Nicolas Sarkozy.

The DCN, manufacturer of boats, frigates and other submarines is a public institution under the authority of the Ministry of Defense until 2003 when it became the DCNS : Thales took 25% of its capital and it now has a hybrid status.

The Sofresa is a company that regroups the State and Defense industrialists, whose goal is to be the middleman between France and Saudi Arabia in the military equipment contracts. Saudi Arabia has always wanted to negotiate the purchase of weaponry directly with the French government or their representatives. They didn’t trust private companies.

The main team of middlemen who were involved in the big contracts and were able to know about the payment of commissions was formed around Ali Bin Mussalam, a Saudi close to King Fahd and many Lebanons : Ziad Takkieddine, Abdul Rahman El Assir, the ex brother in law of one of the most important Saudi middleman, Adnan Kashoggi and Omar Zaidan.

The spring cleaning started. Investigations were carried out by the DGSE on François Létoard’s entourage. They suspected that they might have been informed inside the company about the middlemen and their contracts in Saudi Arabi. The triumphing Chiraquie challenges both Sofresa’s boss, the company that regroups the State and the industrialists to deal with Saudi Arabia and the middlemen chosen by Balladur’s follower. Jacques Douffiagues president of the Sofresa and Léotard’s good friend was fired and replaced by Michel Mazens who is considered being close to the RPR and an ancestor of the UMP.

The DCNI sends muscles to shake up the middlemen

The middlemen are being sent packing. The DCNI the commercial division of the DCN in charge of commercializing the boats and paying nice commissions mandated a private security company to shake up Ziad Takieddine, the middlemen close to the Balladur. He had signed in July 1994 a consulting contract with the DCNI via a small structure in Panama, Mercor Finance.

We have to prevent him from getting the rest of the commissions on the Pakistani submarines. Control Risk Management a company at that time managed by Frédéric Bauer billed the DCNI 120 600 Francs or 18 400 Euros. The goal was to demand – nicely of course – that Takieddine accepts to immediately sign an endorsement engaging him to abandon starting from end of August 1996 his consulting contract. He is fired but in the end he still received 88% of the amount he was supposed to get which is still a nice prize…

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The invoice made by Control Risk Management to the DCNI for having the middlemen nicely impressed. Chirac’s goal is to bring home all the commissions

Another businessman involved in the negotiations, Omar Zaidan who was for a long time working in the offices above the Fouquet’s on the Champs-Elysées is also set aside. Not because he associated with General Jacques Mitterand, the former presidents brother but because of the team linked to François Léotard.

People close to Hariri, the big winners ?

The same happened for Takieddine’s partner, Ali Bin Mussalam. His contract that was in a safe deposit box in a bank in Switzerland that linked him to Sofresa for the sale of frigates in Riad is torn up, “despite the numerous phone calls by some high ranked friends to put pressure and try to fix things up”, told Mazens in a book. The remaining commissions that Bin Mussalam didn’t get will be redistributed. We heard about some people close to the prime minister Rafic Hariri, Chirac’s good friend…

That’s how it’s done in Chiraquie.

Soon in Bakchich, the follow up of our saga or how France negotiated with a person who used to be close to Pinochet to sell all the military junk.

To read the first 3 episodes of our investigation :

As Bakchich revealed it in the previous article, indictments are starting to fall in the DCN case, notably on Wednesday June 25 against a former employee of the DST who was in charge of carrying out discreet missions for our brave weapon (…)
“Bakchich” was able to get their hands on confidential documents on the DCN upon which the justice didn’t really decide to investigate (but just charged people on secondary intelligence), and dissected the networks that allowed big commissions in (…)
During the two years of preliminary investigations, police found the slush funds of the biggest French weapon market of the last couple years at the Direction of Naval Construction (DCN). The justice committed this case to two magistrates of the (…)

Translated by Jacky Chen

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