Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari allegedly received millions of dollars in kickbacks for the purchase of three French submarines for the Pakistani navy in 1994, a French daily has reported.
Citing documents acquired by it, the daily Liberation in Tuesday's edition claimed Zardari received $4.3 million in kickbacks from the sale of three Agosta-90 submarines for 825 million euros (currently $1.23 billion).
In addition, the daily said investigators believed that the non-payment of the full amount of the agreed kickbacks may have led to the deaths of 11 French nationals in a 2002 terror attack in the port city of Karachi.
In Islamabad, a spokesman of the government has taken serious exception to the claims made by the daily. The spokesman said the purchase of military equipment by the armed forces of Pakistan is done through a proper competitive process under the supervision of the Ministry of Defence.
Zardari was neither the president nor the prime minister nor the defence minister when the submarines were purchased, the spokesman pointed out.
The then 'Admiral' responsible for this purchase was investigated by the Accountability Bureau, but no allegation of misdoing could be established by the authorities against Zardari, the spokesman added.