Judges to rule on legality of Sarkozy 'corruption' probe


Last week France's top appeal court heard an appeal by former president Nicolas Sarkozy against the validly of an official investigation into him for alleged “corruption” and “influence peddling”. He faces claims he tried to induce a senior magistrate to hand over confidential legal information. A great deal hinges on the judges' verdict, which is due on March 22nd, 2016. For as Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan reports, if the appeal fails it is likely Sarkozy, who hopes to be the French Right's candidate at the 2017 presidential election, will be forced to stand trial over the allegations.

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On Thursday January 28th, the criminal division of France's top appeal court, the Cour de Cassation, heard an appeal from former French president Nicolas Sarkozy against a decision by investigating magistrates in July 2014 to place him under formal investigation over corruption allegations. Sarkozy was placed under investigation – one step short of charges bring brought – for “corruption” and “influence peddling” plus breaching professional secrecy rules over claims that he used his lawyer, Thierry Herzog, to obtain confidential legal information about the Bettencourt affair from senior judge Gilbert Azibert. In return Azibert is said to have sought help in getting a top job in Monaco. The two other men are also under formal investigation and were part of Thursday's appeal hearing.