So what was he doing in Paris?

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The Independent Online
Speculation is rife in the defence industry about Jonathan Aitken's secret meeting with his Saudi business associates at the Ritz Hotel in Paris which eventually led to his downfall, writes Chris Blackhurst.

Mr Aitken, a long-time middleman on Saudi arms deals, went to extraordinary lengths to hide the fact and the nature of his meeting in 1993, and its purpose is still unknown.

One theory is that he met his Saudi contacts to discuss commission payments from the huge pounds 20bn Saudi Arabian Al Yammamah arms contract. Mr Aitken has always been suspected of having played a part in the negotiations on the order, the biggest ever secured by the British defence industry. However, around the same time the Saudis were known to be seeking new weapon systems, including nuclear technology, from sources other than the United States.

Several months after the meeting, a senior Saudi diplomat, Mohammed Khilewi, defected to the US and claimed that Saudi Arabia had poured billions of dollars into Iraq's nuclear programme as part of a 20-year campaign to acquire its own atom bombs.

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