- The Angolan government has lashed at the French court ruling that convicted the son of ex-French President Francois Mitterrand and an ex-government minister for their roles in illegal arms sales to Angola.
The Paris court slapped Jean-Christophe Mitterrand with a two year suspended sentence and a fine of $590,000, while the ex-Interior Minister Charles Pasqua was jailed for one year by the Paris court and fined about $157,000 for accepting bribes to facilitate arms deals to Angola in 1993-1998.
According to a statement issued by the Angolan government, the prosecution failed to prove that there were any illegal trade of arms, saying the arms were not even French-made and were not transported through French territory.
"At that time, there was not any international embargo against the purchase of arms by the legitimate government of Angola and the weapons were acquired by Angola in a perfectly legal business between the two sovereign States,” the statement said.
The statement further accused the court of biasness, stating that the ruling was politically motivated. It also said the ruling was also in a full of spirit of revenge, because some Angolans who had been supported by the French Special Services failed in their intentions of seizing power by the force of weapons.
The other two key figures were sentenced in absentia and are the Israeli-Russian billionaire Arkady Gaydamak and French magnate Pierre Falcone for being key figures in the arms trafficking worth $790m (£485m).
Mr Gaydamak and Mr Falcone were accused of buying tanks, helicopters and artillery pieces and then selling them to Angola during its civil war, through a French-based firm and its subsidiary in Eastern Europe.
In total 42 people were on trial, while six of them were acquitted in the trial that began a year ago.
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