Charges Loom for Former French PM

De Villepin linked to dirty campaign against rival Sarkozy
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2007 4:29 AM CDT
France's outgoing President Jacques Chirac, right, speaks with Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin prior to a lunch at the Elysee Palace, following Chirac's final weekly cabinet meeting, in Paris, Wednesday,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin is expected to face criminal conspiracy charges following the discovery of new evidence linking him to a dirty tricks campaign against President Nicolas Sarkozy, the Times of London reports. Police yesterday searched his Paris home after investigators found computer data suggesting he directed a plot to implicate Sarkozy in a 2004 bribery scandal.

De Villepin has insisted he had nothing to do with forged bank documents that falsely suggested Sarkozy, then finance minister, received kickbacks in a sale of French warships in what's been dubbed the Clearstream affair. De Villepin, who lost his post when Sarkozy won the presidency, is writing a biography of Napoleon that reportedly is a veiled attack on Sarkozy.