6: Flushed with rage
Lending his weight to the Bruni Tedeschis, the president spoke up in favour of the installation of mains sewage evacuation on the private residential estate - an issue that had divided opinion among the property owners for years. Three days later, on August 19th, Sarkozy organised a meeting at the Bruni-Tedeschis' villa. On the invitation list were the local prefect, Jacques Laisné, a director of the local government's planning and facilities department, the local mayor (and a member of Sarkozy's ruling UMP party), and representatives of the 50 or so Cap Nègre property owners. But despite all the lobbying, the quarrel over sewage treatment had still not been resolved by the following summer. That was when the prefect, Jacques Laisné, was removed from his job in the region by a decree signed by the French president. Laisné was given no new territorial post, and no reason was given for the sanction.
7: A comedy of sorts
Also in 2008, Sarkozy's close friend, the comic actor Christian Clavier (pictured with the president left), was targeted by independence campaigners on the island of Corsica, where he owns a sprawling property in a tourist complex at Porto-Vecchio. On August 30th, some 50 nationalist militants demonstrating against what they called the "spoliation" of local land, held a peaceful, one-hour picnic sit-in in the gardens of Clavier's holiday home.
Three days later, the senior police officer in charge of coordinating the island's security forces, Dominique Rossi, was dismissed from his job. The removal of this high-ranking police officer with some 30 years' professional experience caused outrage among police unions. The following year, the investigative weekly Le Canard Enchaîné revealed that, following the nationalist sit-in, Clavier's holiday home was protected day and night by two gendarmes, spread over three shifts per 24 hours, representing a monthly salary bill of 40,000 euros.
8: Wonderful windfall
In July 2008, the flamboyant French tycoon, one-time minister, multi-millionaire, bankrupt, actor and singer Bernard Tapie, who was an outspoken supporter for Nicolas sarkozy's presidential election campaign, was awarded 390 million euros of tax-payers' money in a private compensation settlement that ended a dispute with the former state-owned Crédit Lyonnais bank.
Tapie eventually launched a lawsuit against the bank which he accused of fraud after it paid him less than the true value of its sale of his controlling stake in sportswear and accessories company Adidas.
But in October 2007, five months after Nicolas Sarkozy's election, which former socialist minister Tapie had publicly supported, the state agency responsible for managing the liabilities of the Crédit Lyonnais, the Consortium de Réalisation (CDR), agreed with Tapie's representatives to settle the dispute through out-of-court arbitration. So it was that the following year, the CDR reached a deal with Tapie to pay him 390 million euros, of which 40 million euros were granted for ‘moral' (personal) damages.
Ten days later, French finance minister Christine Lagarde admitted that instructions had been given to support the arbitration process and remove the case from the courts, where in effect it was the French state, in the form of the CDR, that was being sued by Tapie.
In March 2011 Socialist Party Members of Parliament approached the public prosecutor with France's highest appeal court, notifying him that a recent parliamentary report on the settlement found evidence that the decision to move the case into private arbitration "had the aim of favouring personal interests to the detriment of public interest". A preliminary investigation has now been opened by the court's chief prosecutor to establish the circumstances of the arbitration settlement.
Meanwhile, the French national audit office, la Cour des comptes, has recommended that two senior officials should be sent before a disciplinary court for their role in the huge payout to Tapie. One of them, CDR head Jean-François Rocchi is suspected of having modified the records of the CDR board meeting that ratified the sum. He has strenuously denied any wrongdoing, as has Lagarde.