Keyword: influence peddling
Former French president has failed in his legal challenge against phone tap evidence in which he discussed judge prid-pro-quo deal with lawyer.
The trial this week of former minister and conservative UMP party treasurer Eric Woerth, charged alongside the former wealth investment manager of L'Oréal heiress and billionaire Liliane Bettencourt with influence peddling, provides a graphic account of backscratching and favour-mongering in the salons and private clubs of French high society and, more importantly, an unseemly intimacy between the political world and finance. Woerth is accused of arranging for Maistre to receive the Légion d’honneur – France’s highest award of civil merit – in exchange for his hiring of Woerth’s wife as a highly-paid advisor in Bettencourt’s personal wealth investment company Clymène. If found guilty, the two men each face a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and a fine of 150,000 euros. Mediapart has gained access to the document prepared by magistrates summarising the evidence against the pair. Michel Deléan reports.
In TV interview the former French president portrays himself as victim of an allegedly politically-motivated section of the country's judiciary.
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.
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.