Nicolas Sarkozy with Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in December 2008. Photo: Antonio Scorza/AFP
In October 2016, the National Financial Prosecutor's Office (PNF) opened a preliminary probe into “bribery of foreign public officials” over a contract signed in 2008 during a visit by then French President Nicolas Sarkozy to his Brazilian counterpart, the report published on the website of Le Parisien newspaper said.
A source close to the matter confirmed to AFP that the investigation was under way, without giving further details.
Contacted by AFP, the PNF “neither confirmed nor denied” the report.
Brazil had ordered four Scorpene conventional attack submarines, manufactured by DCNS, a French industrial group specialising in naval defence and energy, in collaboration with the Spanish state-owned shipbuilding company Navantia.
A spokesman for DCNS told AFP it “scrupulously respected the law all over the world”.
A French presidency source at the time estimated the value of the submarine contract at 6.7 billion euros, of which 4.1 billion euros would have gone to France and the rest to Brazilian companies.