Saturday, July 14, 2007

letter to justice minister grabs French media


French media are widely reporting a letter to the minister of Justice in France from the family of former Pape'ete editor Jean-Pascal Couraud.

Sent in late June, the letter raises the JPK affair to a new level in French national affairs.

No word yet on any response from the minister, but increasingly pointed commentary draws clear links between Couraud's allegations of suicide are being overtaken by detailed claims from all sorts of sources.

What follows is one such story.

Close relations of Jean-Pascal Couraud, an investigative journalist who “committed suicide” in mysterious circumstances in 1997, in Tahiti, claimed today that his death is “most probably” related to the “Chirac bank account in Japan.”

They have written to Justice minister Rachida Dati.

In this letter, they lay stress, on all syllables, on a possible link between the disappearance of the journalist and the investigations which he then carried out, concerning “financial transfers from French Polynesia to Japan, for the profit of Jacques Chirac.”

“The lawyer who worked with Jean-Pascal Couraud at the time of his disappearance revealed to us that in 1997, they both laid out very significant information relating to financial transfers from French Polynesia to Japan, for the profit of Jacques Chirac,” reads the letter

“This lawyer even claims to have been the subject of pressures on him, so much so that he had carefully considered ceasing any work on this affair.

But Jean-Pascal Couraud was known to be unstoppable; he intended to use this information and make it known.”

On the spot, some gendarmes suspect the family of seeking to draw attention of authorities to a file which risks ending in withdrawal, with no formal proof of murder, however probable, being found.

Secret agents of Gaston Flosse implicated

At 37 years of age, Jean-Pascal Couraud disappeared on the night of 15th -16th December, 1997.

Former editor of the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles, he was in close relations with Boris LĂ©ontieff, an opponent of Gaston Flosse, a mainstay of the island, a friend of Chirac and always a senator.

After the death of Couraud, who signed his articles “JPK”, a suicide theory seemed to take hold. He was not at all well, and even his family was not astonished.

But in October 2004, a man named Vetea Guilloux, former member of the Intervention Group of of Polynesia (GIP), a security service of the Polynesian Presidency, makes an explosive statement (see it video).

One evening during a drinking session, he claims in writing to gendarmes, two members of the GIP boasted about their murder of Couraud.

He had been tortured, then drowned outside of Papeete.

Interrogated, Vetea Guilloux, reconsiders his claims.

This reconsideration translates into an appearance in front of a correctional court a few days later, an almost immediate appearance, where he gets a twelve months prison sentence, with three months without parole for libellous denunciation.

The family of the journalist then creates a committee to support reopening of the investigation, and start researching the truth behind the disappearance of Jean-Pascal Couraud.

Very recently, the committee claims to have collected new evidence including a lawyer who confesses to the brother of the missing man.

“Spontaneous statements from various people close to the centre of the GIP confirm to us, sometimes in a very precise manner, the reality of his assassination by a team from the GIP”, committee founders write in their letter to Rachida Dati.

Fear, however, prevents these witnesses “from going to the end with their statements”.

Philippe Couraud, brother of JPK, tells news site Rue89 that he has gained admissions last February from a lawyer friendly with his brother.

He was a lawyer engaged against Flosse, who continues to exert influence in Tahiti.

“During ten years, this lawyer had consolidated theories of a suicide involving Jean-Pascal.

“But there, spontaneously, in my office, he started to speak to me about this affair.”

He told him how, with Jean-Pascal Couraud, they had taken note of considerable transfers from a prosperous and highly respected pearl culturing company to a Japanese account whose holder was, it is believed, Jacques Chirac.

The lawyer was followed, burglarized.

Somebody in Paris could have warned him: “It all stops here, or you die.”

He then decided to keep his distance.

But JPK continued.

Dumped in water with breeze blocks attached to the feet

Today, Philippe Couraud suspects an interrogation which went badly.

“They obviously sought a document. They would have shown zeal to look good with their superiors.”

The GIP of Flosse had close links with the DGSE, which followed closely, in 1997, the case of the Japanese account, as testified by documents recently seized within the framework of the Clearstream affair.

According to accounts collected by the brothers of JPK, in particular that of HT, the journalist was thrown into water between Tahiti and Moorea, with concrete breeze blocks attached to his feet.

One of the witnesses said that once an unconscious “inanimate JPK was brought back up, an order would have been given to release the body.”

Herve Gaymard: Clearstream business “abracadabraesque”

Former minister for the Economy, Herve Gaymard, on Friday described the Clearstream affair and a hunt by Dominique de Villepin for answers as “abracadabraesque”.

“That really does not interest me” but “everyone follows this affair like a television serial or a comic strip”, Herve Gaymard commented on LCI.

“All that should not divert us from the real problems of France today”.

“If the expression had not been already employed, I would say that all this is ‘abracadabraesque’”, said the former minister, forced to resign over another affair concerning work conducted by the State on an apartment.

“In particular I want to make the comment that in this Clearstream business, nobody understands anything”, even though “this is two, three years that they speak to us about this subject”, complained the UMP deputy for Savoy.

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