Net closes in on Sarkozy law firm partner in tax fraud and money laundering probe

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A French judicial investigation has described the “active role” played by Arnaud Claude, the partner of Nicolas Sarkozy in a Paris legal firm, Claude & Sarkozy, in helping an MP and longstanding political ally of the former French president, Patrick Balkany, to conceal from the French tax authorities his ownership of a luxurious Moroccan villa estimated to be worth more than 5 million euros. As the investigation draws to a close, the magistrates in charge have ordered the confiscation of a Normandy property belonging to the lawyer, Mediapart has learned. Fabrice Arfi and Mathilde Mathieu report.

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Paris-based investigating magistrates have established that French lawyer Arnaud Claude, a longstanding friend of Nicolas Sarkozy’s with whom the former French president founded in 1987 the Paris law firm Claude & Sarkozy, played an “active role” in the creation of an offshore tax-evading structure for one of Sarkozy’s staunchest political allies, veteran conservative Member of Parliament Patrick Balkany.