'Manifestly abusive behaviour': what the judges really thought about Nicolas Sarkozy in Bettencourt affair

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Nicolas Sarkozy and his political allies have been celebrating the decision by judges to drop proceedings against him in relation to the Bettencourt affair. But in their official judgement the two examining magistrates make clear they nonetheless regard the former president's behaviour towards the elderly and frail L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt to be 'abusive'. Mediapart here publishes extracts from a ruling whose tough language throws into context Sarkozy's claim that he has been declared 'innocent'. Michel Deléan reports.

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Nicolas Sarkozy may have had legal proceedings against him dismissed in the Bettencourt affair. But in their ruling the investigating judges also make it clear in trenchant terms what they think about the former president’s behaviour in relation to the elderly and mentally frail L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, now aged 90, who is at the centre of the political and legal drama. In sections of the official judgement by Jean-Michel Gentil and Valérie Noël, extracts of which are published here by Mediapart, the judges write of the ex-head of state's “incriminating behaviour”, his “manifestly abusive behaviour” and the fact that he asked for “hidden financial support” from an “elderly and vulnerable person” in the form of billionaire Liliane Bettencourt, and clearly imply that Sarkozy lied about how often he had met her.