Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Major political scandal underway in France

by Jerome a Paris Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 08:34:13 AM EST

Le Monde, in this afternoon's edition, has some explosive revelations (in French) about the "Clearstream" scandal that implicate Dominique de Villepin very directly.

I have found no articles in English on these new revelations yet, but here's a basic summary in English of the situation prior to these new informations.

A first scandal was started in early 2004 when a number of politicians (including Nicolas Sarkozy) and top businessmen were accused to have hidden bank accounts with Clearstream in Luxembourg. These accusations were proven to be false in early 2005 by the investigating judge, and new judicial procedures were started, by Sarkozy and others, for slander ("dénonciation calomnieuse"), to try to find out the mysterious source of the fake documents that triggered the first scandal.

Sarkozy has long suspected Chirac and Villepin to have been behind this attack on him, and today's revelations would seem to bear this out. Villepin has already denied categorically the substance of what Le Monde prints today, but this could trigger his resignation and a government reshuffle, especially coming just after the CPE episode which has gravely weakened his authority and credibility.

To be continued...


Some good links in French:

Summary of the past 2 years of investigations (Libération)
Notable events of the past 5 years (Le Monde)
Villepin interview this morning (prior to the new revelations (Le Figaro)

Display:
Can a scandal really be a scandal if its not in English? :)

Here in the States, Bush is caught up in a new scandal -- call it PrayerGate:

Critics Blast Bush For Not Praying Hard Enough

WASHINGTON, DC--President Bush, already facing the lowest approval ratings in history, is coming under fire from former supporters over what they call his "ineffectual and incompetent" use of prayer for national guidance and assistance.

"Every time the president is criticized, he insists that the nation is in his prayers," said the Family Research Council's Bob Jensen. "That may be, but it's becoming more and more clear that these prayers are either too infrequent, too brief, or not strongly worded enough to be effective."

Jensen added: "This nation deserves more than a president who just pays lip service to prayer. It deserves a president who demands that his prayers get real-world results."

by numediaman on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 08:42:00 AM EST
They can't be serious.
a president who demands that his prayers get real-world results
or else, what? They'll nuke heaven?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 08:58:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reading that line was a genuinely mind-bending moment.

It's hard to comment because my mind loses traction on the concept. It's too bizarre to even laugh

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:13:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Laugh? It makes me want to cower in terror, considering how numerous/influential these people are. Is that how Bush's irreductible base of 30% thinks?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:15:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, in the light of the developing sex scandal in Washington we now know what a republican is doing when he's saying "Oh god...oh god..ooooooh goooooood !!!"

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/4/28/94455/5569

Slightly off topic : We now find out goergia10 from kos is just 23. Knowing what a know-nothing nit I was at that age I now feel totally inadequate.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 10:00:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was such a sheep at that age. Then again, that was still before 9/11... Within those 4.5 years I've been politicised rapidly and put on a steeper learning curve than I used to be on. It's the difference of living within the comfort zone bubble and confronted without one. For even younger people (such as georgia10) seeing their country wracked step by step, I can imagine this process is even larger. Who knows that on the long run, the destruction that is the Bush government may give birth to a re-invented progressive movement... It took 13 years after the Russia-Japan wars early twentieth century that the political trembles introduced then spelled the end of the Tsar.

I'm speculating way out of my expert terrain, of course, but it's nice to speculate positively.

by Nomad on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 10:24:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh no, it's not. Regard it as humour based on disabilities.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:18:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why? Heaven has hidden WMDs?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:16:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it refuses to bow to the demands of the Leader of the Free World. But I'm sure the intelligence services can come up with something. Didn't Zeus leave his lightning bolts lying around somewhere when God chased him out?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:18:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You forgot the trademark sign that follows "Leader of the Free World".  We own it, and it is thus: Leader of the Free WorldTM.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:40:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Used without permission.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:44:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, you're on a roll in this thread.  You nearly forced me to spit out my coffee with the Zeus comment, as well as the "Or what?  They'll nuke heaven?" one.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:41:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They should remember what happened to proud Lucifer, flung headlong down from heaven to the rolling billows of fire and brimstone...

Or they should pass their mouse over the link and check out the vegetable aroma...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:19:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
lucifer was a vegetarian?

with a mustache?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 02:32:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, crap, that's from the onion.

I totally failed for it.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:23:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Damn. Me too.

It just seemed like something they really could have said.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:34:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No fair !!! If I pray hard enough can it be be true ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 10:04:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That may be, but it's becoming increasingly clear that your prayers are either too infrequent, too brief, or not strongly worded enough to be effective.</snark>

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 10:15:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
er... fell for it.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 10:30:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What was Fran's Breakfast quote today again?

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:38:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Too right.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 10:18:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is also an incoming scandal on Perben and the Battisti extradition case, revealed on one of the major radios the night before last night, by Fred Vargas (who has been documenting the Battisti case very closely). If true, then France's ex minister of justice would be shown to have been corrupt. The minister of justice for crying out loud.
by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 08:48:18 AM EST
To be continued indeed... Interesting new twist. It seems this would cement Sarkozy's lead in as presidential candidate from the right.
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 08:53:42 AM EST
Heh. I'm glad I now know enough  about Villepin to to dislike him. I can settle back and enjoy the scandal.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 08:56:29 AM EST
Why do these people become corrupt? Because they can?

I mean, they are very highly payed, have big apartments, expensive cars, lots of power and prestige. What more could they do with another X million euros?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:07:32 AM EST
I mean there is a declining marginal utility. What good is another 3 million euros when you already have 5 million euros?*

Why take the risks of getting a little more uselessly rich when you might lose everything, your money, your house, social status and even your freedom?

*This is what (among other things) make stuff like the $400 million pension of Exxon CEO Lee Raymond so grotesque.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:12:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think you're reading the definition of decreasing marginal utility correctly.  It deals with goods, not money.  Example: "I own a new Jaguar.  I've wanted to all my life.  I could buy another, if I wished to do so, but I already have one.  A second isn't worth the money to me, and I'd rather have a mansion on the coast of France (which will provide a higher level of utility than the second Jaguar)."

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:35:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Money is just a fungible good and does have decreasing marginal utility. After the jaguar, the mansion, and so on and so forth, just being able to buy more stuff doesn't add to your utility.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:40:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It depends on what else the person wants.  You might also get a huge gain from a condo on Manhattan, or from owning a yacht that you take off the coast of Italy.  I'm just saying that more and more money doesn't imply that the utility from using that money is decreasing at the margins.  It may or may not.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:50:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At some point, you can just derive utility from your Forbes magazine ranking, but even then you need exponentially increasing wealth increments to advance in the ranking.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:53:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps.  I, personally, wouldn't give a damn about such a ranking if I were rich, except to the extent that it would allow me to pour money into causes that I like.  (Give me Bill Gates's money, and I'll bankrupt the oil business within a decade.)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 10:08:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's your paypal account? :)


-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 11:37:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't you just use the e-mail address for that?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 02:51:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
After the millions have been made it's all about the power. My first job out of college was in investment banking so I have intimate experience with this particular psychosis.
by CalItal on Sat Apr 29th, 2006 at 12:35:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You might also get a huge gain from a condo on Manhattan  

Including Manhattan real estate isn't fair, it skews the 'how much money would I need to live a dream life' question far too much.

by MarekNYC on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 03:27:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's not how I meant it. With the kind of money these people make they can have both a mansion on the sea and half a dozen jaguars.

What good is any more money? What can they buy with it? A yacht? They already have one. A small pacific island nation? Yes, that might be something. <snark>

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:41:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Island Nation example is not so far-fetched.  Look at Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.  (Be nice to Buffet, though.  He's on our side.)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:43:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
These particular people don't technically own pacific island nations, but can nuke pacific ocean atols as if they owned them.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:44:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Bush family couldn't own an island nation even if it wanted to.  Neil Bush keeps blowing the family wealth on Asian hookers, and Dubya's entire fortune comes from insider trading, and from convincing the people of Texas to build, and then give to he and his colleagues, a stadium.  (The baseball team wasn't worth anything, due to the fact that the Rangers have always been, and will always be, a terrible team.  The stadium, however, was worth millions.)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:56:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Er... I was thinking about the French head honcho and Mururoa.

Bush doesn't own Middle Eastern countries either, but he are going to nuke one as if he owned it.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 10:00:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, politicians in France are not supposed to be mega rich, unless they inherited or were successful businessmen. Their salaries are reasonable, their perks somewhat reasonable.

More often than not these scandals have to do with ensuring a political advantage, securing an electorate, that kind of thing, or so it seems.

But I suppose the "low" salaries that politicians get could be seen as an incentive to get richer by other means.

by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 10:25:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's your definition of mega-rich?

Swedish parliamentarians earn €4000 per month and ministers earn €8000. At least the minister's pay is mega-rich in my book.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 10:50:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It used to be €7800 euros for ministers, but a budgetary law in 2002 (a law that was meant to limit budgetary wastes of money) has made that go up to €13300.

Let me just translate that into, oh, I see, over one million French francs per year, ok yep, you're right, they're mega-rich.

by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 11:31:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's limit budgetary waste by doubling ministers' salaries.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 11:34:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's hard to decide what salary to give them as French right-wing politicians are priceless.
by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 11:40:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
lol!!
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 12:02:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Why let our budgetary money go to waste? Let's give it to our beloved ministers"
by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 11:42:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh and incidentally it's one of the first laws passed by the right-wing government that was elected in 2002.
by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 11:43:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Swedish parliamentarians earn €4000 per month and ministers earn €8000. At least the minister's pay is mega-rich in my book.

You're kidding, right? A family of four earning 8,000 Euros per month, pre tax, is right on the borderline of qualifying for apartments specially reserved for moderate income families here in NYC or its inner suburbs, i.e at roughly 120% of the median.  Housing and taxes are that much lower low in Sweden?

by MarekNYC on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 03:34:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're kidding, right? The median household income in NYC (1999) was under $40,000 (actually %3191 per month). (source)

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 03:53:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I am not kidding. Note that I was speaking of a family of four, not a 'household' and today, not 1999. I can't find current figures broken down by family size for the city, but in 2004, in 2004 dollars, median family of four income in New York state was $67,564, in New Jersey it was $88,401, in Connecticut $88,276. census figures  So yes, I was off - 8,000 Euros is between a 1.3 and 1.9 median family of four income in the New York area, though searching more shows that in some cases families with up to 150% of local median size adjusted household income qualify for 'moderate income' status housing.  In any case I stand by the statement that it is absurd to consider 8,000 euros a month to be 'mega rich'. It's not even plain 'rich' around here, just standard upper middle class, which is nice but not quite the same thing.
by MarekNYC on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 04:31:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder what the PPP conversion would be between Stockholm and NYC.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 04:39:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What? €8000 per month is great pay even if it was the combined pay for the household. €8000 per month is €96.000 per year, more than $100.000 per year for a single person! The Swedish GDP per capita is about $25.000-30.000 so a minister makes about four times as much as the average worker. Is that great pay or what!

And remember the ministers spouse will also have a wage to add to the household income. But even if the spouse is unemployed it equals two working parents earning €4000 each, two great wages in their own right.

I don't know what rents are in NYC, but if you earn more than about €3000 your income tax is about 50 % in Sweden.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 07:02:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a minister makes about four times as much as the average worker. Is that great pay or what!

If I am not mistaken, Sweden's top/bottom quintile ratio is around 4, one of the lowest in the developed world. Ministers getting four times average wage will earn shrugs elsewhere.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 07:12:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And here I am, the most right-wing person on the entire ET, sounding like a damn commie. :)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Apr 29th, 2006 at 09:55:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, are travel expenses part of the €8000?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 07:13:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, the state pays that. Our minister of sports used the government jet to go some place and watch football. By the way, the man (Bosse Ringholm) is retarded. He was named minister of Finance in spite of failing his high school math.

Sweden has the worst educated government in the world.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat Apr 29th, 2006 at 09:57:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I might sound like a free market prophet, but this and the 4000-8000 E/month salary might be related. About how big is the revenue (salary + bonuses) in the upper management of a big company? Or in a consultancy firm?
by Deni on Sat Apr 29th, 2006 at 12:05:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This just shows how salaries have been skewed.

In the UK I'd consider middle class starts at around £30k/year, upper middle at around £80-£100k/year, and rich at £1M/year. MPs here get paid £50k (it may have gone up since the last time I looked) plus some expenses.

Very rich would be anyone worth over a billion, because that's the level at which you can buy absolutely anything for your own personal use.

But - these people amuse themselves by buying and selling companies, not everyday things. The difference between one billion and ten billion is the difference between a small and a medium sized corporation.

At that level it probably still rankles that no matter how rich someone is, they still can't afford to buy Microsoft, Exxon or Google in their entirety.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Apr 29th, 2006 at 06:46:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
declared a fortune of about EUR 4 Million at the time of the last election (the law now forces the candidates to make a full declaration of their wealth, and at least that of the two runners up to the second round is published)

He has been a civil servant all his life.

(His wife comes from money, but that's kept separate, supposedly)

In the 70s, he bought a ruin in Corrèze (Chateau de Bity), got his very own government to declare it a "Monument Historique", and, presto, all renovation work was paid for by the State.

Then he got the Croix Rouge or some similar organsation to buy the land around it (supposedly to build a retirement house) and keep it unbuilt so that his view would not be spoilt.

Despite having access to fond secrets (government cash, used to pay for secret services in untraceable ways, but also used as petty cahs to improve the pay of minister and their assistants), he has taken the habit of ultra luxurious holidays in Maldives, Morocco etc paid by people like Hariri (the billionaire former prime minister of Lebanon, killed last year in a bombing) or the King of Morocco or various corporate friends.

And that's of course on top of all the kickbacks from compnaies to finance political parties, and of the use of Paris's massive tax wealth when he was mayor to pay for lots and lots of goodies, including plenty of jobs and free appartments to friends and their kids, lovers, and obligés.

It's all documented, proven. Just read Le Canard Enchainé every week. Sometimes, it forces them to give up an appartment, or some of the shadier deals. But the good life goes on.

(And it's not everybody. De Gaulle is famous for paying himself for pastires when he brought his grandkids to the Elysée on week-ends)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 12:08:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jesus. And we had one of our ministers fired for buying a piece of Toblerone chocolate with the government credit card.

And she was the damn crown princess for the social democrat party and the most likely next pm.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 12:15:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anyway, it seems France need some doberman prosecutors who hate the government (or the mafia really, but what's the difference in Berlusconiland?), like in Italy.


Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 12:20:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We did get them in the 90s, and things HAVE been cleaned up to a pretty good extent.

  • Pretty strignent (and effective) party financing laws have been passed;

  • a number of politicians have been sentenced (including senior ones like Alain Juppé, former PM and Chirac's right hand man, Alain Carignon, Michel Noir (both ministers of Chirac and mayors of large cities), Henri Emmanuelli (socialist Treasurer);

  • and they have gotten pretty close to Chirac (who may yet be prosecuted when he no longer is president);

  • cash handouts to ministers (fonds secrets) have been banned, etc...

So it's not all hopeless.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 12:32:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and Alain Carignon did actually serve time in the slammer for embezzlement; so did Michel Noir, if I'm not mistaken I wasn't living in France at the time).

Now out of jail, Alain Carignon got recently re-elected as chairman of the local branch of UMP (France's ruling party), here in the fair city of Grenoble, and probably intends to run for mayor... again.
Who wrote that line about the first time as a tragedy and the second time as a farce?

by Bernard on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 03:26:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"including plenty of jobs to friends"

And including plenty of fake jobs too, as it would be quite cruel to make your friends actually work.

by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 12:26:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But have a four, anyway. :)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:36:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Beats me, they should have gotten an ethos of humility and service out of their elite education.</snark>

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:12:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Because they can?

Yes. An eternal truth.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 09:16:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Clearstream is a wholesale bank clearinghouse that is only supposed to have financial institutions for customers - no individuals or retail businesses.  They have quite strict anti-money laundering and know-your-customer practices to protect against problems because they concentrate so much of the global financial market's settlement flows in the interbank markets.  

For phoney accounts to be set up for French politicians in Clearstream would take some pretty intensive activity and probably overrides of internal controls.  Insiders would have to be involved.  

Add to that that Clearstream is now owned by Deutsche Bourse - the German securities market - and you have the makings of pretty damn big scandal if any of this is true.

I'm not sure whether I believe it or not without more facts than are given here.

by LondonYank (LondonYank (at) aol.com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 10:21:12 AM EST
I think the investigations have made it clear (stream...) that none of it is true. The whole scandal, in fact, is that this was apparently a political plot cooked up to throw a big banana skin under rivals' feet, and, in particular, of Sarkozy's. And the chickens are coming home to roost with Defence Minister Alliot-Marie, and more still with PM de Villepin, with, (as always) the president looming untouchably in the background.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 10:33:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This could even be from the onset a political plot by Sarkozy, for all we know.
by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 10:45:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think I heard that the idea is crossing certain minds.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 10:52:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Urrgh, court politics.

If they have time over for intrigue their working hours are probably too short.

This is what a 35 hour work week brings. ;)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 10:55:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep. Not that the above discussion on financial corruption is without interest (%), but the scandal here is about political shenanigans. Slander by anonymous denunciation.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 11:41:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I heard a representative of Clearstream on French radio this morning say the bank was lodging a complaint, considering its reputation tarnished by the accusations of money-laundering. He repeated that Clearstream cannot open accounts for private individuals.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Apr 29th, 2006 at 02:08:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guess what...

Effective today, "l'affaire Clearstream" is now mentioned in the English language media.

So, it is now officially in existence.

Many papers (Guardian, Washington Post, LA Times, Seattle PI, etc...) just reproduced the original AP article.

The FT at least found the whole matter worthy of two of its own staff journalists: here.

The whole Clearstream thing had been discussed in the French press for the past couple of months, but most people didn't pay much attention (myself included).

It was only yesterday that the smelly material eventually hit the proverbial fan...

by Bernard on Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 03:44:06 PM EST


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