Gilbert Azibert

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy found guilty of corruption in phone tap affair


The former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was found guilty by a Paris court on Monday March 1st 2021 of corruption and influence peddling in the case known as the 'Paul Bismuth affair'. The ex-head of state was handed a three-year prison sentence with two of them suspended, though it appears unlikely he will serve time in jail and his lawyer said he will appeal against the conviction. It is the first time in French legal history that a former president of the Republic has been convicted of such serious crimes. The case stemmed from judicially-approved telephone taps of conversations between Nicolas Sarkozy and his friend and lawyer Thierry Herzog, who has also been convicted in the case. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan reports, with additional reporting by Ilyes Ramdani.

'We can't allow an ex-president to forget about the Republic': prosecutor urges two years in jail for Sarkozy


The prosecution has called for Nicolas Sarkozy to be given a four-year prison sentence, with two years suspended, in the closing stages of the former president's corruption trial in Paris. Prosecutors also called for a similar sentence for Sarkozy's friend and lawyer Thierry Herzog and retired judge Gilbert Azibert. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan was in court to hear the prosecution sum up their case.

Sarkozy gives evidence at corruption trial: 'My life has been about lending a hand'


Former president Nicolas Sarkozy has given evidence at the corruption trial in Paris where he is accused of trying to bribe a senior judge in return for confidential judicial information. The ex-head of state was full of anger and indignation at the allegations that have been levelled against him. “I swear to you, the idea that we were doing something we shouldn't could not have been further from my mind!” he told the courtroom. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan was in court to hear Nicolas Sarkozy proclaim his innocence on all charges.

Defiant Sarkozy tells corruption trial he is the victim of lies

France — Link

The former president accused prosecutors of conducting a witch-hunt, using excessive means to snoop on his affairs and withholding evidence.

Confusion and delay: Sarkozy corruption trial gets off to uncertain start


The high-profile trial of Nicolas Sarkozy, in which he is accused of trying to use his influence to find out confidential judicial information, is finally under way in Paris. But the case, the first in which a former French president has faced corruption charges, has been beset by a string of disruptions and by sometimes confusing legal disputes. The result so far, says Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan, is a trial that has not yet done justice to the issues that are at stake.

Why Nicolas Sarkozy faces trial over claims he sought inside information from judge

France — Analysis

Barely a week after Nicolas Sarkozy was placed under formal investigation over Libyan funding of his 2007 presidential campaign, the former president has been hit by a new legal blow. Judges have ruled he must stand trial on corruption and influence peddling charges over claims that he tried to get a senior judge to leak him crucial information about the progress of a case involving him. In return the ex-head of state is said to have promised to help get the judge a plum post in Monaco. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan explains the background.

Sarkozy one step closer to corruption trial as judges uphold phone tap evidence


Nicolas Sarkozy's hopes of returning to the Elysée suffered a potential blow on Tuesday when France's top court approved the use of telephone taps that led to the former president being formally investigated for “corruption” and “influence peddling”. The decision by the Cour de Cassation to reject Sarkozy's appeal means that he could soon face charges and be sent for trial over the allegations, which concern his alleged attempts to obtain confidential information about another legal affair that involved him. Though he has not formally announced his candidacy for the Right's autumn primary ahead of the 2017 presidential election, it is widely expected that Sarkozy will stand. But the electoral road is likely to be tougher for Sarkozy if he is facing a trial on corruption charges. Michel Deléan reports.

Judges to rule on legality of Sarkozy 'corruption' probe

France — Report

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.

Nicolas Sarkozy appeals against corruption investigation

France — Link

Former French president tries to get probe quashed, claiming phone taps used to gain evidence were improper.

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy hit by new phone tap leaks

France — Link

Latest leak of tapped phone conversations appear to show that Sarkozy offered to get a judge a plum job in return for favours.

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy under official investigation for 'active corruption' and 'influence peddling'


The ex-head of state has been formally placed under investigation – one step short of charges being brought – over allegations of 'active corruption', of 'influence peddling' and of receiving information as a result of the violation of rules on professional secrecy. Sarkozy, who on Tuesday became the first French president to be held in police custody for questioning, is suspected of using his lawyer to obtain confidential information from a senior judge about the controversial Bettencourt affair. The claim is that in return Sarkozy was to help the judge, Gilbert Azibert, obtain a top job in Monaco. The fact that Sarkozy is now the target of a potentially lengthy judicial probe will cast fresh doubt on his ability to stage the political comeback that many claim he is planning. Questioned on French television on Wednesday evening Sarkozy claimed there was an organised campaign by a section of the judiciary to “humiliate” and “destroy” him.

Nicolas Sarkozy in police custody over 'influence peddling' allegations


For the first time under France's Fifth Republic a former president has been held in custody for questioning. On Tuesday morning Nicolas Sarkozy was summoned to the offices of the fraud squad at Nanterre, west of Paris, where he was formally placed in police custody for questioning over claims that he benefited from what is known as 'influence peddling'. In particular the judges and police carrying out the investigation want to know if Sarkozy sought confidential information from a senior judge about the Bettencourt affair, in return for helping him get a top job in Monaco. The questioning of the former president, which comes a day after his lawyer, the judge at the centre of the 'influence peddling' claims and another judge were also held for questioning, is bound to place doubts over his expected return to French politics. If the investigating judges consider there is enough evidence, Sarkozy could be placed under formal investigation, one step short of formal charges.

Sarkozy's lawyer and top judge questioned over 'influence peddling' claims


Former president Nicolas Sarkozy's lawyer and close friend Thierry Herzog and senior judge Gilbert Azibert were questioned in police custody on Monday 30th June as part of an ongoing investigation into the alleged trading of confidential judicial information in return for political favours. In particular, Azibert is suspected of having passed on information about a part of the Bettencourt affair in the hope that he would be favoured in his application for a top judicial post in Monaco. A third man, an advocate general at France's top appeal court which was handling the Bettencourt affair, was also being questioned. As Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan reports, the questioning in custody of such senior figures will send shock waves through the judicial establishment. On the evening of Tuesday July 1st, Herzog and Azibert appeared before the judges carrying out the probe and were placed under formal investigation.

Exclusive: phone taps reveal Sarkozy plot against 'bastard' judges

France — Investigation

Mediapart can reveal the content of the controversial phone bugging carried out on former president Nicolas Sarkozy. Details of seven phone taps show that the ex-head of state set up what amounts to a dirty tricks operation to neutralise the judges who are investigating him. The extraordinary content of the calls confirm that Sarkozy's team used senior judge Gilbert Azibert to find out information about the Bettencourt affair. And that Sarkozy's lawyer Thierry Herzog was kept informed by a mole in the upper echelons of the state about the progress of the investigation over the Libyan funding of the former president's 2007 election campaign. As Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report, it is the start of a new state scandal involving Nicolas Sarkozy.

Sarkozy and top French magistrate in conspiracy scandal sparked by phone taps


A judicial investigation has been opened into evidence obtained via police phone taps that Nicolas Sarkozy and his lawyer Thierry Herzog received highly confidential information from a senior French magistrate about two legal cases involving the former French president. In exchange for the illicitly-gained information, Sarkozy was allegedly asked to use his influence to obtain the appointment of the the magistrate, Gilbert Azibert, to a lucrative retirement post on Monaco’s state council. Michel Deléan reports on the latest developments in an affair that has rocked France’s political and judicial establishment and which may announce the end of Sarkozy’s planned return to politics.