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Ex-French Official’s Home Search

January 27, 1998

PARIS (AP) _ French police searched the offices and residences of a former French foreign minister Tuesday for clues in the disappearance of $25 million linked to the sale of six frigates to Taiwan.

The search of Roland Dumas’ properties was part of an investigation into the alleged disappearance of commissions from the 1991 sale.

Dumas _ currently president of the Constitutional Council, France’s highest legal authority _ served as foreign minister under then-President Francois Mitterrand from 1988-93.

A close friend of Dumas, Christine Deviers-Joncour, has been placed under formal investigation for embezzlement and has been in preventive custody since Nov. 7. In the French legal system, formal investigation is one step short of being charged.

Deviers-Joncour worked for a section of French petroleum giant Elf-Aquitaine that acted as an intermediary between Taiwan and the French arms maker, Thomson, which made and sold the ships.

While she was working for Elf, she also headed a ``public relations″ mission for the Foreign Ministry when it was run by Dumas, Le Monde newspaper reported Tuesday.

Le Monde said Deviers-Joncour allegedly received $7.5 million in a Swiss bank account in 1992, but so far has been unable to explain the origin of the money.

Investigators want to examine what role, if any, Dumas may have had in the sale of the frigates, as well as the role of then-state-run Elf.

Police from the financial brigade spent the day at Dumas’ private offices, at his Left Bank home and at his country home in the Gironde region. In Paris, they were joined by the two investigative judges overseeing the case.

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