The French government did not wish to confirm or deny Monday that the Frenchman sentenced in Venezuela for planning to assassinate President Hugo Chavez was an agent of France's secret service.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot avoided giving a direct answer to a question asked at a press conference about whether Frederic Laurent Bocquet, who was released and expelled from Venezuela last Saturday, was working for French intelligence and was involved in a plot against Chavez.

Lalliot would only say that Bouquet is a French-Swiss citizen who "had been detained in Venezuela for illegal arms trafficking since May 8, 2009."

Venezuelan Prisons Minister Iris Valera announced Bouquet's deportation on Saturday, identifying him as "a French intelligence agent who served a sentence for attempted assassination after confessing his role in the plot."

Valera insisted that Bouquet had admitted he went to Venezuela "to assassinate Chavez" and that "an arsenal was found in his possession."

Bouquet and three Dominicans were arrested in possession of guns, ammunition, plastic explosives and other material, Venezuelan prosecutors said at the time of the detentions. EFE