INTERNATIONAL: French lobbyist resumes Elf fraud case testimony

PARIS: French lobbyist Christine Deviers-Joncour has resumed her

testimony for the Elf fraud trial, in which her former lover Roland

Dumas is charged with embezzlement.

Deviers-Joncour is alleged to have received more than pounds 6m from Elf

to promote the oil company's interests via her relationship with


A former foreign minister and ex-president of the Constitutional

Council, Dumas is on trial for allegedly accepting gifts up to the value

of pounds 800,000 from Deviers-Joncour.

It has been announced that one of Deviers-Joncour's principal witnesses,

Alfred Sirven - who is believed to be her principal contact at Elf - has

refused to testify in the trial.

French police recently extradited Sirven from the Philippines, where he

has been in hiding for the past three years.

Deviers-Joncour triggered the trial with her tell-all account of their

love life, in which she accuses Dumas of taking money and gifts from her

in return for political favours. These include Elf's hiring of Loik Le

Floch-Prigent as chairman in 1989 and the authorisation of the sale of

pounds 1.6bn-worth of warships to Taiwan.

Deviers-Joncour has already spent five months in prison for her alleged

role in the episode. The prosecutor has asked she be jailed for three

years and fined pounds 100,000.

Seven people stand accused in the trial, which is set to come to a close

in May.

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