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French Senate speaker in influence scandal. Connections to Romania discovered

Miercuri, 6 iunie 2007, 0:00

Christian Poncelet
Photo: Le Monde

The second most important character in the French state, Senate speaker Christian Poncelet, is under investigation in Paris for accepting bribe in order to help a friend win several public contracts, according to the online edition of "Le Monde".

According to the investigative journalism weekly "Le Canard", the official intervened on several occasions to his friend, Jean-Claude Bertoldi, an employee of Sogea (a public works company) in order to obtain contracts in France and abroad.

Jean-Claude Bertoldi is currently detained for embezzlement, forgery and abuse, sources of Le Monde say.

Le Canard tells about a fragment of Bertoldi's statements in front of prosecutors, saying that Poncelet was supposed to receive an 8,000 euros commission in order to help closing a deal.

Among others, Poncelet met the Romanian Senate speaker, Nicolae Vacaroiu, on February 15, in order to arrange the opening of a Carrefour in Romania, AFP informs.

Prosecutors say Poncelet also used his influence in Iran, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

Poncelet says he never won any money from his interventions and that he simply helped French companies to develop.

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