Keyword: Claude Guéant

Former French minister and police chief 'to stand trial' over cash payments

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Claude Guéant © Reuters Claude Guéant © Reuters

Former French minister Claude Guéant and a former director-general of the French national police force, Michel Gaudin, are to stand trial later this year on charges of misappropriation of public funds, Mediapart has learnt. The judicial investigation into the two men was prompted by an official administration report which found that Guéant received a secret monthly tax-free bonus of 10,000 euros in cash between the summer of 2002 and up to the summer of 2004, paid out of funds destined for police activities, while he served as chief-of-staff to then interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy. Michel Deléan reports.

Top Sarkozy aide faces probe over Libyan election funding claims

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Claude Guéant, Mouammar Kadhafi et Nicolas Sarkozy à Tripoli, en 2007. © Reuters Claude Guéant, Mouammar Kadhafi et Nicolas Sarkozy à Tripoli, en 2007. © Reuters

In a dramatic development Claude Guéant, ex-chief of staff to President Nicolas Sarkozy and a former interior minister, has been placed under formal investigation for “laundering of the proceeds of tax fraud as part of an organised gang”, “forgery” and “use of false instruments” in connection with the probe into claims that the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi illegally funded Sarkozy's successful 2007 presidential election campaign. Investigators want to know the origin of more than 500,000 euros that was transferred into his bank account in 2008 and part of which he later used to buy a flat in Paris. Experts in the art world have cast doubt on Guéant's explanation that the money came from the sale of two paintings by 17th century Dutch artist Andries Van Eertvelt.

Former minister detained over Sarkozy Libya finance allegations

Former interior minister Claude Guéant is being quizzed over 500,000 euro payment which he says came from sale of a 17th century painting.

Revealed: how top cop tipped off Sarkozy ally over Libyan funding investigation

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MM. Hortefeux et Takieddine, en 2005 © dr MM. Hortefeux et Takieddine, en 2005 © dr

Revelations about phone taps on Nicolas Sarkozy and his lawyer Thierry Herzog have caused a major legal and political row. Lawyers say the eavesdropping is a breach of lawyer-client privilege, right-wing politicians have claimed there is a plot to discredit the former French president, while the phone taps themselves suggest evidence of 'influence peddling'. But the judicially-approved eavesdropping also targeted former interior minister and close Sarkozy ally Brice Hortefeux as part of the investigation into illegal funding of the Sarkozy 2007 presidential campaign by the Libyan regime. Here Mediapart publishes extracts from some of those phone taps which show how a senior policeman phoned Hortefeux to warn him about details of the investigation and to coach him about how to prepare for questioning – in flagrant breach of procedural regulations. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

Scandals and gravy-train life at the interior ministry: net closes in on Sarkozy aide Guéant

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 © Reuters © Reuters

Amid the escalating revelations in a series of graft scandals rocking the French political establishment, a net is now closing in on former French interior minister Claude Guéant, a longstanding close aide to former president Nicolas Sarkozy. Guéant is one of the key figures under investigation in a judicial probe into the suspected illegal funding of Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign by the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. In a separate judicial investigation into the suspected fraudulent payment in 2008 of 403 million euros to business tycoon Bernard Tapie, a friend of Sarkozy, Guéant’s name is cited in several witness statements as a central figure to secret meetings held to organise the payout. But in what appeared as an almost anecdotal revelation compared to the implications of those investigations, it emerged this week that Guéant, 68, received a secret monthly tax-free gift of 10,000 euros paid in cash while he served as chief-of-staff to Sarkozy when the latter was interior minister. The Paris public prosecutor's office announced on Friday the opening of an investigation into the cash handed to Guéant, estimated to total 240,000 euros,  and which was paid from a fund destined for special police operations. Louise Fessard reports.

The curious tale of a former French interior minister, two Dutch paintings and allegations of Libyan cash

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Nicolas Sarkozy's close political ally Claude Guéant is at the centre of a major political controversy over a mysterious payment made to him of  500,000 euros. The former interior minister has angrily denied that the bank transfer payment, unearthed by detectives investigating the alleged Libyan funding of Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign, relates to money from the former regime of Colonel Gaddafi. He insists the money came from the sale of two oil paintings by a 17th century Dutch artist. Yet art experts say the two paintings are worth nowhere near 500,000 euros. And if he did sell them abroad as suggested, Guéant appears not to have got the necessary authorisation from the ministry of culture. In another twist, the former civil servant claims other cash payments are explained by undeclared work bonuses he received from 2002 – yet this system of bonuses was abolished in 2001. Dan Israel reports on the tangled web surrounding Sarkozy's former right-hand man.

Sarkozy ally denies Gaddafi funding claims

Ex-minister Claude Guéant says 500,000 euros in his bank account came from selling paintings not Libyan funding for Sarkozy's 2007 campaign.

French interior minister's 'superior civilization' speech sparks major political clash

 © Reuters © Reuters

A speech by French interior minister Claude Guéant last weekend in which he claimed, in an obvious comparison between the Western and Arab worlds, that some civilizations “seem to us superior” has produced a major political storm and a controversy now centred on a fiery response this week to his remarks from opposition MP Serge Letchimy (pictured). 

French interior minister claims some civilisations 'superior’

French interior minister Claude Guéant stirs controversy with public claims that some civilisations are “superior” to others.

Mediapart files complaint after Elysée 'dirty tricks' revelations

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B. Squarcini, patron de la DCRI. © Reuters B. Squarcini, patron de la DCRI. © Reuters

In November 2010, Mediapart exposed how it was the target of a police espionage operation mounted on the orders of the French presidency. President Nicolas Sarkozy’s then-chief-of-staff, Claude Guéant, the current interior minister, responded by suing Mediapart for libel. But Guéant suddenly dropped his lawsuit in June last year, fearful of the disclosures that would emerge during the trial, which had been due in the autumn. A book published this week in France, L’Espion du Président (‘The President’s Spy’), focussing on the actions of French domestic intelligence chief Bernard Squarcini (pictured), contains new revelations about the scope of the surveillance of Mediapart and other French media. Here, in an outline of pertinent extracts, Mediapart Editor-in-Chief Edwy Plenel explains why Mediapart has decided to take legal action to prompt an independent judicial investigation into the latest shocking disclosures.

France eases foreign student work and residency permits crackdown

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French interior minister Claude Guéant has finally issued official instructions loosening his crackdown on the number of residency and work permits granted to non-European Union foreign students in France. The backtrack followed vigorous opposition to the measures, announced last May, from the country’s academic and business organizations. Carine Fouteau reports.

French government climb-down over foreign student restrictions

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Following six months of protests, the French government this week appeared ready to accept at least a partial climb-down over its contentious move to restrict the granting of work permits to foreign, non-EU students, many of whom are graduates who have been offered employment after their studies in the country. The restrictions, which the government said were prompted by "one of the most severe economic crises in history" and which critics denounced as pandering to the electorate of the far-right, caused an outcry from French academics and the business world. Carine Fouteau reports.

The plan for Gaddafi to help France free Ingrid Betancourt

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Franco-Lebanese arms dealer Ziad Takieddine is a key figure in what has become known as the ‘Karachi affair', involving alleged secret political funding from commissions paid in French weapons sales abroad. A judge leading an independent probe into the suspected scam last month placed Takieddine and two of President Nicolas Sarkozy's close friends and aides under formal investigation in the case. In a series of investigations that began this summer, Mediapart has revealed Takieddine's unusual role as intermediary and advisor in a number of French weapons sales, and his close relationship with several of President Sarkozy's inner circle of friends and advisors. Documents obtained by Mediapart now disclose how the arms dealer was involved in arranging for the French presidency the services of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to free former hostage Ingrid Betancourt (photo) from her FARC captors in Colombia. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

Captain Sarkozy hits the iceberg

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One after the other, President Nicolas Sarkozy's closest friends and aides, who for so long served as his political fireguards, have become implicated in a series of scandals and fast-developing judicial investigations. The alleged illegal political funding scam that has finally exploded with the revelations surrounding arms dealer Ziad Takieddine has already demolished the president's once solid network of protection. What has been happening this past month at the summit of French political power is historic, writes Mediapart editor François Bonnet, for never before has a French president been so exposed to being sunk by scandal and the revenge of abandoned protagonists.

The French-built stealth offroader that may be hiding Gaddafi

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Amid continuing speculation over the whereabouts of deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Mediapart has obtained exclusive details of a highly sophisticated ‘stealth' four-wheel drive armoured vehicle sold by France to Libya in 2008 for the dictator's safe transport. The modified Mercedes can "instantaneously detect over 2,000 threats" according to French company Bull which developed the vehicle's security system (illustration) as part of a controversial weapons and security contract negotiated with Tripoli by President Nicolas Sarkozy's staff. The deal included equipment presented as "an inviolable solution to the Anglo-American espionage system". Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report on a deal that may still be ensuring mobile refuge for on-the-run Gaddafi.