Every man for himself! Defendants in Sarkozy campaign funding trial seek to deflect blame


Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and 13 other defendants are facing a variety of charges over the massive and illegal overspend in the ex-head of state's presidential election campaign in 2012 and the attempts to hide it. The prosecution claims that the public relations and events firm Bygmalion helped to conceal this multi-million-euro overspend by issuing fake bills for staging political rallies to Sarkozy's political party, the UMP, rather than just the election campaign itself. But Bygmalion's executives at the company and its events subsidiary have no intention of shouldering the blame for what happened. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléán was in court to hear the evidence from one of them, Franck Attal.

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It's a case of every man for himself. Nine years after Nicolas Sarkozy's crazy and ultimately doomed 2012 presidential campaign, none of the fourteen defendants in the so-called Bymalion affair – who include the former head of state himself - intend to carry the can for the massive funding irregularities that later emerged from it. The enormous campaign overspend – 42.8 million euros were spent rather than the legal limit of 22.5 million – the forging ahead with costly American-style political rallies, the fake bills; no one is taking responsibility for them. That includes the former president himself, who has still not deigned to turn up at court, even though he was the main beneficiary of and the person legally responsible for the biggest election overspend of its kind in recent French political history.