3 acquitted in France-Angola arms traffic trial

A French appeals court has overturned the convictions of a former government minister and two businessmen accused of links to arms trafficking to Angola.

Former minister Charles Pasqua, an icon of French conservative politics for decades, had been convicted of influence-peddling in the complex corruption case. The Paris appeals court acquitted him Friday.

The court also acquitted Israeli billionaire Arkady Gaydamak and businessman Pierre Falcone, who investigators said were the masterminds behind a network trafficking Soviet-made weapons to Angola during its civil war in the 1990s.

The original trial in 2009 involved 42 defendants, many of them former French officials accused in the sensitive far-reaching case the French dubbed Angolagate.