Geneva probes further into Angola arms scandal

Former French interior minister, Charles Pasqua, has come under investigation in Switzerland Keystone Archive

Justice authorities in canton Geneva have launched another money laundering investigation involving alleged arms trafficking to Angola. The former French interior minister, Charles Pasqua, tops the list of people being investigated.

This content was published on March 16, 2001 - 22:03

On Friday, Swiss officials confirmed that they are looking into whether nine European citizens, as well as 13 businesses, had ever opened bank accounts in Switzerland.

The move follows an earlier money laundering investigation, also involving alleged arms trafficking to Angola, which was launched by Geneva's top prosecutor, Bernard Bertossa, in January.

At the time, Bertossa placed Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, the son of the late French president, under investigation for suspected complicity in arms trafficking, influence peddling and embezzlement.

According to officials in Geneva, the latest probe came at the request of a Paris judge in December.

As a part of the most recent investigation, several Geneva banks have been ordered to reveal whether any of the people or businesses on the list have ever held accounts with them. If so, officials are expected to request account statements dating back to 1990, when Swiss money laundering laws came into effect.

One of the most prominent names on the list is that of the former French interior minister, Charles Pasqua, and his son, Pierre Pasqua. European deputy, Jean-Charles Marchiani, and Sonia Falcone, wife of the alleged arms dealer Pierre Falcone, are also on the list.

Judges in France suspect that between 1993 and 1994, Pierre Falcone sold more than $500 million worth of arms to Angola.

One of the businesses that has come under investigation in Switzerland is ZTS-Osos, a Slovakian-Czech arms producer who reportedly provided weapons to Falcone, which were later sold to Angola.

The names of the other people and businesses under investigation have not been revealed.

swissinfo with agencies

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