Jacques Chirac was paid millions of pounds in bribes by Saddam Hussein to oppose the US-led war in Iraq, according to DailyMail report paraphrasing an intelligence revelation for the first time by Britain’s former spy chief.
The revelation was accrued to Sir Richard Dearlove head of MI6 in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Dearlove finally spoke out as recent obituaries for the former French President cited his principled opposition to US President George Bush’s plans for military action.
But the former spymaster, speaking exclusively to The Mail on Sunday, revealed that Chirac’s true motive for opposing the Gulf War was because he accepted ‘substantial amounts’ of cash from the Iraqi tyrant for his election campaigns.
DailyMail reported that Sir Richard, who made the sensational revelation only days after the French statesman’s death on Thursday aged 86, said: “There were strong indications in the US and UK [intelligence services] that Chirac received money from Saddam.
“His recent obituaries are saying that Chirac got it right [on Iraq] and the rest of us got it wrong. But I am saying that Chirac’s motive for getting it right may not appear to be what it is.”
Chirac had led an alliance of France, Germany and Russia against plans by the US and Britain to invade Iraq over suspicions that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction, which it would pass on to terrorist groups like Al Qaeda.
The French President addressed his nation on television to declare that he would use France’s veto at the UN to prevent George Bush and Tony Blair gaining a resolution that sanctioned a military invasion, the news report stated.
Chirac’s anti-war stance caused a massive rift between France and the US, prompting American media to deride the French as “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” and some restaurants to rename French fries as “Freedom fries”.
While the US and Britain went to war with Iraq without a UN resolution, France stayed out of the coalition.