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Friday, 21 June, 2002, 11:36 GMT 12:36 UK
France silent on Taiwan frigates scandal

The new French Government has refused to declassify documents relating to the controversial sale of six frigates to the Taiwanese navy in 1991.

The request had been lodged by two magistrates investigating the case, which has long been surrounded by allegations of corruption and suspicious deaths.

They centre on the leading French arms manufacturer, Thomson, now known as Thales.

A former French Foreign Minister, Roland Dumas, who's been convicted of corruption in a related scandal, said last year that $500,000 had been paid in bribes over the Taiwanese contract.

A former head of the French secret service has also voiced doubts over the death of his son, a one-time commercial attache to Tawan, who fell out of a window two years ago. Two Thomson representatives and a Taiwanese army captain have also died in unusual circumstances in recent years.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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