Former president Nicolas Sarkozy has been dramatically placed under formal investigation for allegedly abusing the mental frailty of billionaire L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt. It followed a second round of questioning by judges in Bordeaux investigating the Bettencourt affair, which involves claims of political corruption and abuse of power. The news has caused fury on the Right, however, who insist that it is a politically-motivated decision coming just days after the resignation of budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac, who is also facing an investigation.
If found guilty former French president could face jail and fine for 'taking advantage' of Liliane Bettencourt, France's richest woman.
Former president Nicolas Sarkozy was hauled back before a judge over claims he accepted envelopes stuffed with cash from France's richest woman.
The resignation of budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac after a full judicial investigation was launched over his Swiss bank account sent shock waves through the ruling Socialist Party. Many MPs refuse to believe that their colleague has lied over the affair. Others want to turn the page as quickly as possible and put the matter behind them. But as Mathieu Magnaudeix, Stéphane Alliès and Lénaïg Bredoux report, one thing that is certain is that the resignation has not improved the mood in the ruling party, where one MP likened the current situation to a football match in which his side is being hammered...
As finance minister, she referred his long-running dispute with bank Credit Lyonnais to an arbitration panel which awarded him 400m euros damages.
French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac (pictured) has resigned after it was announced on Tuesday that a full-blown independent judicial investigation has been opened into evidence he held an undisclosed bank account in Switzerland. The events follow the authentication by forensic police of a tape, first revealed by Mediapart, on which he is heard discussing the account, which he has hitherto denied holding. Announcing the opening of a judicial investigation, the Paris public prosecutor's office said an examining magistrate will now seek the cooperation of the authorities in Switzerland and in Singapore, to where funds from the account were allegedly transferred. It also revealed the investigation will pursue claims that money paid into Cahuzac's account came from pharmaceutical companies.
Investigation to see if the ex-president violated a confidentiality law when the Elysee published a press release on the affair in September 2011.
French police investigating the death of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat have questioned his widow Suha, who claims he may have been poisoned.
End of investigation into accusations that the disgraced former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn took part in a gang rape in the United States.
The judge carrying out the high-profile investigation into the Bettencourt affair involving France's wealthiest woman, allegations of financial abuse and claims of political corruption at the highest levels, has ordered three allies of former President Nicolas Sarkozy to be questioned as witnesses. Judge Jean-Michel Gentil, who is said to be close to completing his mammoth task, is examining whether L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt's mental frailty was taken advantage of by those around her. But the publicity-shy judge is also investigating claims that the billionaire’s money was illegally used to fund Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign. There are also allegations that the Elysée Palace tried to stop a proper investigation into the affair and that France's domestic spy chief himself became involved. As Michel Deléan reports, the judge is leaving no stone unturned in his inquiries.
Probe comes after Arafat's family launched legal action in France over claims the late Palestinian leader died of radioactive polonium poisoning.
Investigation targets L'Oréal heiress Bettencourt's 'protector' over 143mln-euro deal she can't remember
Magistrates investigating a suspected gigantic web of corruption spun around the financial affairs of L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt on Wednesday placed a lawyer in charge of her wealth investments under formal investigation for taking advantage of the 89 year-old matriarch’s diminished mental faculties. Pascal Wilhelm, appointed as a legal protector of Bettencourt’s financial interests, is the second of her wealth managers to be suspected of corruption. The case notably involves an investment he organised of 143 million euros of the matriarch’s private fortune in a company owned by reality TV show and online gambling entrepreneur Stéphane Courbit, which Bettencourt cannot remember making. Michel Deléan reports.
The role of the authorities in hunting the gunman who carried out the atrocities in Toulouse and Montauban in south-west France has come under the microscope since the main suspect was shot dead in a siege at his flat. Questions have been raised about how long it took to locate Mohamed Merah after the first attack, and to what extent the French intelligence agency had been monitoring him before the murders took place. Michel Deléan reports.
France's biggest listed bank, BNP Paribas, and largest in Europe, is set to be placed under formal investigation – one step short of charges being brought - in connection with suspected fraudulent handling of clients' investments in funds that channelled money to US fraudster Bernard Madoff, judicial sources have told Mediapart. A ruling by the Paris appeal court's investigatory chamber found that "Bernard Madoff's own responsibility does not rule out the possibility of fraudulent behaviour by intermediaries such as the BNP." The court cited documents from the US liquidator of the Madoff group, concluding that “it now seems that the bank received millions of dollars in exchange for services that were never provided and while it was in possession of information […] which should have prompted it to investigate BLMIS [Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities]". The ruling has relaunched an investigation that now threatens the bank with major legal consequences. Laurent Mauduit reports.