President François Hollande’s new Socialist government has fired three top French police officers, accused of being political appointments of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, reports RFI.
The right-wing opposition has claimed that a “witch-hunt” is under way.
The highest-profile sacking is that of Bernard Squarcini, appointed head of the domestic intelligence service, the DGPN, by Sarkozy in 2008. The Socialists suspected of setting up a secret bureau to carry out the former president’s dirty work.
In 2003, when Sarkozy was interior minister, Squarcini was involved in the arrest of Corsican nationalist Yvan Colonna, who was later found guilty of the murder the island’s top official, Claude Erignac and promoted as soon as Sarkozy became president.
When the country’s two domestic intelligence services were merged in 2008, he became boss of the joint operation, gaining a reputation as a faithful and ruthless ally of the president.
Last year he was investigated over the alleged bugging of journalists investigating allegations that France’s richest woman, Lilliane Bettencourt, illegally funded Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign.
During the presidential election campaign, Hollande declared that there was a parallel state at the service of Sarkozy’s UMP party, adding “people connected to this system will obviously have to move over for somebody else”.
Read more of this report from RFI.