A brother of French presidential hopeful Segolene Royal has been linked by a family member to the 1985 bombing of the Greenpeace ship the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland's harbour.
Antoine Royal, another brother of Segolene, told a reporter his brother Gerard was the agent who attached the bomb to the hull of the Rainbow Warrior. The bomb killed a crew member on board the ship.
AFP reported Antoine Royal as saying brother Gerard was in the French secret service squad who carried out the bombing on the orders of the French Government.
"At the time, (Gerard) was a lieutenant and agent of the DGSE (intelligence agency) in Asia. He was asked in 1985 to go to New Zealand, to Auckland harbour, to sabotage the Rainbow Warrior," AFP reported Antoine as saying.
"Later he told me that it was he who planted the bomb on the Greenpeace ship. He took a small craft with a second person to approach the boat.
"He was able to escape the New Zealand authorities, unlike the false Turenge couple who were arrested. My sister learnt that he was present during the operation from a recent article in the press."
New Zealand police arrested French agents Alain Mafart and Dominique Prieur soon after the bombing.
Mafart and Prieur pleaded guilty to manslaughter in November 1985 and were sentenced to 10 years' jail. They served less than three years in jail before returning to France.
The July 1985 sinking of the Greenpeace anti-nuclear flagship, for which the French Government eventually admitted responsibility, strained relations between France and New Zealand.
Socialist politician Segolene Royal is heading voter opinion polls to lead the party into next year's race for the French presidency.
- NZHERALD STAFF