Mitterrand lawsuit threat
By CHARLES BREMNER THE illegitimate daughter of the late President Mitterrand rushed to her father's defence yesterday , threatening...
THE illegitimate daughter of the late President Mitterrand rushed to her father's defence yesterday , threatening lawsuits and attacking his immediate predecessor.
Mazarine Pingeot (25), the object of Mitterrand's secret devotion throughout his 14-year presidency, said she could no longer remain silent after the stream of recent claims that have tarnished his image.
These have included allegations that in 1992, Mitterrand ordered the transfer of funds from the Elf-Aquitaine oil company to the Christian Democrat Party of Helmut Kohl, the former German Chancellor. Over the past week, the media have reported investigators' suspicions that Mitterrand used Elf money to ensure his daughter's financial security.
The President's former driver is about to publish a book with lurid details of her father's alleged dalliances with women other than Danielle, his wife, and Anne Pingeot, Mazarine's mother.
``My image is being sullied, as is the memory of my father, and I am supposed to suffer this in silence. Well, it is time for this to stop,'' she wrote in Le Figaro newspaper. ``I am asking for the right to reply and to demand evidence every time people wound the reputation of a man I love,'' Ms Pingeot said.
The President's daughter, who has acted as unofficial guardian of his image since her paternity became public in 1994, said that she was bringing a libel action against le Point magazine for alleging a possible link between her and the money from the Elf oil company.
She was also incensed that Valery Giscard d'Estaing, the President whom Mitterrand defeated in 1981, had recently alleged that her father had written articles collaborating with wartime the Vichy puppet regime. This was not true, but ``against rumour, you can do nothing,'' she said. Mlle Pingeot's press offensive on behalf of her late father is likely to boost her celebrity again in a way that she claims to abhor.
When she published a novel two years ago, she insisted that she wanted to be known as a novelist, and not as Mitterrand's daughter. ``I am known, but not in the way that suits me,`` she said then.
Ms Pingeot is not the only person who claims that enemies are out to blacken Mitterrand's name. Several leading figures say that they are victims of a plot to discredit his whole 14-year presidency.
(The Times London)