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Ex-spy boss snubs court in France-Angola arms case

Ex-spy boss snubs court in France-Angola arms case

A former French intelligence chief is refusing to testify as a defense witness in a major trial over arms trafficking to Angola in the 1990s, his lawyer said Tuesday.
The arms trafficking trial, which includes 42 defendants, began in October after seven years of international investigations into a case the French have dubbed "Angolagate."
Yves Bertrand, director of the Renseignements Generaux intelligence agency from 1992-2004, was called to appear after judges seized his diaries that allegedly contained details of dirty dealings by politicians. Two key suspects say Bertrand was witness to meetings under question in the investigation.
In a letter to the court viewed by The Associated Press, Bertrand insists he was "not witness to any of the events blamed on the defendants."
His lawyer, Basile Ader, said Bertrand will not appear as scheduled at Wednesday's proceedings.
The chief suspects, French tycoon Pierre Falcone and Israeli billionaire Arkady Gaydamak, are accused of trafficking Soviet-made arms to Angola's government during a civil war in the 1990s. Both deny breaking the law.
The other suspects include former President Francois Mitterrand's son Jean-Christophe and top officials accused of receiving bribes from Falcone's company in exchange for political favors.