Angola arms trial opens in Paris

Jean-Christophe Mitterrand denies all the charges

Forty-two people have gone on trial in Paris accused of involvement in illegal arms sales to Angola in the 1990s.
The two key suspects, a French and an Israeli-Russian businessmen, deny organising the sale of $790m worth of weapons to war-torn Angola.
Other suspects, including the son of late French President Francois Mitterrand, are accused of "complicity in illegal trade" and taking bribes.
The "Angola-gate" case has strained ties between France and Angola.
Angola had sent its lawyers to try to stop the trial, citing reasons of Angolan national security.
Up to 300,000 people died during a 27-year civil war between Angola's socialist government of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and the US-backed Unita rebels. The fighting ended in 2002.
'No reason' for trial
The prosecution alleges that French businessman Pierre Falcone and Israeli-Russian tycoon Arkady Gaydamak shepherded the arms deals to the Angolan government in 1993-98, in breach of French government rules and a United Nations embargo.
The two men are accused of buying tanks, helicopters and artillery pieces and then selling them to Angola through a French-based firm and its subsidiary in Eastern Europe.
The defence team says there is no reason to pursue the case in a French court as the weapons never cd French territory.
It rejects the prosecution's arguments that any such deal required official authorisation.
If convicted, the two men face 10 years in prison. Mr Gaydamak is being tried in absentia.
Other suspects, including Mr Mitterrand's son Jean-Christophe and former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua, are accused of accepting kickbacks - money or gifts - to facilitate the deals.
Both Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, who advised his father on African affairs, and Mr Pasqua deny any wrongdoing.
The trial is expected to last until March.