The man who headed the French secret service when the Rainbow Warrior was bombed in Auckland has died almost 35 years after the debacle.

Admiral Pierre Lacoste died in a retirement home in Paris on Monday (local time), French media is reporting.

He would have celebrated his 96th birthday next week.

Lacoste, a well-known figure in the French intelligence service, was the leader of the Direction Generale de la Securite Exterieure (DGSE) from 1982 and during the Rainbow Warrior debacle in July, 1985.

Advertisement
The Greenpeace protest vessel Rainbow Warrior lying partly submerged at Marsden Wharf in Auckland after an explosion ripped through the hull on July 11, 1985. Photo / NZH Ben Motu
The Greenpeace protest vessel Rainbow Warrior lying partly submerged at Marsden Wharf in Auckland after an explosion ripped through the hull on July 11, 1985. Photo / NZH Ben Motu

He was later dismissed by the then French president, François Mitterrand, after the infamous bombing of the Greenpeace ship on July 10 at Marsden Wharf.

READ MORE:
'They didn't care if they killed everybody'
Greenpeace not surprised at Rainbow Warrior findings
'Third team' in Rainbow Warrior plot
Papers show Mitterrand approved Rainbow Warrior bombing

In 2005 - on the 20th anniversary of the bombing that killed crew member and photographer, 35-year-old Fernando Pereira - French newspaper Le Monde published an extract of a written account given by Lacoste in 1986.

"I asked the president if he gave me permission to put into action the neutralisation place that I had studied on the request of Monsieur [Charles] Hernu," he wrote.

Hernu was the French Defence Minister at the time.

"He gave me his agreement while stressing the importance he placed on the nuclear tests. I didn't go into greater detail on the plan as the authorisation was explicit enough."

Lacoste also wrote that he would not have launched such an operation without the personal authorisation of the "President of the Republic."

Lacoste's son, Marc, told French media that his father died peacefully in his bed.

Advertisement