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Femme Fatale Launches Account of Affair with Swiss Ambassador

October 31, 1996 GMT

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) _ Was she on a government mission or simply head-over-heels in love?

Floriana Jucan, the 21-year-old journalist whose yearlong affair with a Swiss ambassador led to his dismissal, swears by the latter in her kiss-and-tell memoir, which was published Wednesday.

Jucan was so intent on keeping the affair going with Jean-Pierre Vettovaglia, a married career diplomat 28 years her senior, that she faxed a 10-page letter to him at home with the words ``Ti amo″ _ Italian for ``I love you.″

The relationship caused a scandal in Bucharest as the two openly appeared at restaurants and diplomatic receptions.

The Swiss government recalled the diplomat on April 19, placing him under investigation as ``a threat to Switzerland’s national security.″

The Swiss accused Jucan of spying for Romanian intelligence, seeking to extract information from Vettovaglia.

Magazines dubbed the brunette with green eyes a modern-day Mata Hari.

Jucan takes care to deny the spy charges. Any privileged information she may have had access to is notably lacking from the 282-page book, which sells for $3.

She claims the real reason the ambassador was dismissed was that he became too involved with personal financial dealings and stepped on the wrong people’s toes.

What comes through in the book is that Vettovaglia lost his head. His intimate love letters, scrawled on photos or hotel stationery, are published alongside pictures of the two appearing together at official receptions.

The book offers a bizarre mix of candid snaps _ Jucan embracing her 49-year-old lover in a bathtub and her frequent prayers for help in retaining her love affair.

She doesn’t shrink from trumpeting her meetings with high-level politicians, from Romanian President Ion Iliescu _ pictured getting a peck on the cheek from Jucan _ to former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, photographed holding the young woman’s hand in Switzerland.

``This was a unique life experience that I’ll never regret,″ Jucan, dressed in a pale apricot suit and shiny black heels, said Wednesday in the glare of television lights.