Francia: Villepin al banquillo

Nicolas Sarkozy y Dominique de Villepin (derecha)
Image caption El ex primer ministro niega su complicidad en los intentos de dañar la reputación de Sarkozy.

Former French Prime Minister on trial

The former French Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin goes on trial on charges of plotting to discredit the then Interior Minister, now President, Nicolas Sarkozy. The hearing is expected to last at least four weeks.

Reporter: Emma Jane Kirby

Listen to the story

This explosive and incredibly complex trial has all the elements of a blockbuster political thriller, a former Prime Minister from the political elite, accused of conducting a smear campaign against a rival outsider to try to spoil his chances of becoming President.

The case dates back five years, when Nicolas Sarkozy's name appeared on a list sent to the former French Prime Minister of top politicians and businessmen who were wrongly linked to an illegal bank account in Luxembourg. It was alleged those named on the list had received bribes from international arms sales.

When a judge concluded the listings were false, the focus of the investigation quickly became who was behind the spurious allegations. Magistrates want to know whether that person was Dominique De Villepin. If he's found guilty, the former Prime Minister faces up to five years in prison and a heavy fine. He denies any wrongdoing.

Emma Jane Kirby, BBC News, Paris

Listen to the words

explosive explosivo

has all the elements of a blockbuster political thriller(el juicio) tiene todos los elementos de una novela de suspenso político

the political elitela élite política

conducting a smear campaign realizar una campaña difamatoria

rival outsiderdesconocido rival (en este caso, un participante con pocas posibilidades de ganar)

wrongly linkedvinculados erróneamente

received bribes from international arms sales(habían) recibido sobornos a través de la venta internacional de armas

concludeddeterminó

who was behind the spurious allegationslos responsables detrás de las acusaciones falsas

denies any wrongdoingniega cualquier fechoría