A former French interior minister says former President Jacques Chirac and other senior figures were aware of secret arms trafficking to Angola in the 1990s.

The trafficking was at the heart of a vast case dubbed "Angolagate" that involved corruption at the highest levels of France's government.

Former Interior Minister Charles Pasqua was among those convicted last month in the affair. He was sentenced to a year in prison for influence-peddling.

Pasqua said Thursday that "the highest authorities of the country," including then-President Chirac and Dominique de Villepin, who later became prime minister, were aware of the weapons sales to Angola during its civil war, despite a U.N. arms embargo.