Spy chiefs deny plotting to kill terrorist's lawyer: French authorities say Verges was not an assassination target, while Khartoum seeks reward for trapping fugitive

THE former chiefs of France's secret services yesterday rejected claims by Jacques Verges, the lawyer representing the terrorist Carlos, that the state sought his assassination in the early 1980s.

Mr Verges, who has been accused of being an operational member of Carlos's group, said at the end of last week that the secret services had received instructions to eliminate him.

His claim gained limited credibility when an equally controversial former gendarmerie officer - who, incidentally, has also been a client of the left-wing lawyer - said he knew Mr Verges' allegation to be true. Mr Verges, meanwhile, said in a television interview that the order came 'from the head of state, that is, from Francois Mitterrand'. It was a continuation of the former Communist lawyer's long-standing feud with the French non-Marxist left.

But Pierre Marion, who was head of the French espionage service at the time Mr Verges said his life was threatened, and Yves Bonnet, who ran the counter-espionage agency, both denied there had ever been an assassination list featuring Mr Verges. The charge was the fabrication of 'mediatisation addicts', Mr Bonnet said.

The affair brought together two of modern France's more bizarre personalities, Captain Paul Barril, the former head of the gendarmerie's elite commando squad and security adviser to Mr Mitterrand, and Mr Verges, whose varied biography and propensity to defend cases which embarrass the French state are legendary.

Mr Barril left the police because of the case of the Vincennes Irishmen soon after Mr Mitterrand's first election to the presidency in 1981. Irishmen living in the Paris suburb of Vincennes were found to have had arms planted in their home. It was alleged that the police, including Mr Barril, seeking a public victory against terrorism, had tried to frame the Irishmen.

Since then, Mr Barril has surfaced from time to time in odd circumstances. Recently he said he possessed the 'black box' from the plane in which the Rwandan and Burundian presidents died when their aircraft was shot down on 6 April. That led to the massacres in Rwanda which prompted France to send troops there.

However, upon examination, Mr Barril's piece of equipment turned out to be another, less important, part of the plane. It was not related to the flight recorder.

Mr Barril said in a television interview that Mr Verges had been a 'priority target' because 'he was in the centre of all terrorist contacts'.

Mr Verges, who defended Klaus Barbie, the Nazi 'Butcher of Lyons' and a series of terrorists in the 1980s, first made his name defending Algerian nationalists during the 1954-62 Algerian war.

He disappeared for most of the 1970s, a period about which he refuses to comment. One version of his activities has the lawyer in the entourage of Pol Pot after the Khmer Rouges embarked on bloody massacres following their takeover of Cambodia in 1975.

The various Verges charges first started when Le Monde said that the Stasi, the former East German security police, had evidence in its archives that Mr Verges had been an actual member of the Carlos group. The charges have served to overshadow the case of Carlos himself, who was put into a French jail last week after being deported from Sudan.

The latest episode had the Stasi believing that Mr Verges in fact worked for the American CIA, the conservative daily Le Figaro reported yesterday. It said that documents showed the Stasi worked on the theory that his defence of Barbie had been organised by the CIA.

Mr Verges is also accused of helping to set up a bomb attack on a French nuclear reactor 12 years ago. He told Le Figaro that this allegation was 'a divine surprise. Verges is not just a sleeping agent but a terrorist. Let them charge me then.'

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
people
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little