A former spy told investigating magistrates that French President Jacques Chirac had millions stashed away in a secret Japanese bank account, the weekly Le Canard Enchainee reported yesterday.
According to the newspaper, General Philippe Rondot told magistrates on March 28 that documents held by the French counterintelligence service DGSE showed Chirac has a private account with the Tokyo Sowa Bank containing the equivalent of 44.5 million euros (about US$57 million).
Aides close to Chirac said that the French president "categorically denies" the allegation published by the weekly. They said similar allegations had been raised against Chirac in 2001 and were subsequently shown to be unfounded.
According to Rondot's testimony, as reported by the weekly, large sums were regularly deposited into Chirac's account by a cultural foundation in which the president had a seat on the board of administration.
According to extracts from Rondot's testimony, documents allegedly confirming the existence of the bank account were seized during a search of his home.
Rondot was a special operations officer for the Defense Ministry between 1997 and last year and played a leading role in the capture of the notorious South American terrorist Carlos the Jackal.