Saddam Hussein’s spies planned a wide-ranging scheme to bribe members of the French political elite in the run-up to the Anglo-American invasion, including an offer to help fund President Jacques Chirac’s 2002 re-election campaign.
That bid failed, according to Iraqi secret service papers seen by The Daily Telegraph, when Mr Chirac’s aides allegedly said they did not need the cash.
According to the series of Iraqi intelligence service memorandums uncovered by investigators working for the energy committee of the US House of Representatives, the Iraqis identified a group of politicians and businessmen close to Mr Chirac.
A memo from the head of the 2nd Department of the Mukhabarat, the Iraqi intelligence service, purported to report on conversations between its representative in Paris and Roselyne Bachelot, then a member of the National Assembly and the spokesman for Mr Chirac’s re-election campaign. The Mukhabarat described Mrs Bachelot as “a friend of Iraq”.
But wait…there’s more:
The spies claimed that Mrs Bachelot offered an assurance that France would veto any American proposal to invade Iraq at the UN Security Council and would work to have UN-approved sanctions against Saddam lifted.
But the memo also claimed that Mr Chirac’s team had turned down the cash. The Mukhabarat had conveyed the message that “Iraq is prepared to offer financial support to Chirac, for his election campaign. [Mrs Bachelot] replied joyfully that she will deliver this offer to the financial official of the election campaign.” The Chirac campaign had expressed the “gratitude and appreciation of France” but turned the offer down because the money was not required, the document says.