Jean-François Copé

Election funding trial: Sarkozy loses his cool as he seeks to clear his name

France — Report

The former French president Nicolas Sarkozy appeared in court for the first time yesterday, June 15th, for the trial in which he and 13 others face charges over the massive overspend during his failed presidential election campaign in 2012. The ex-head of state conceded some responsibility in the way his campaign was conducted. But, showing clear signs of irritation, Nicolas Sarkozy strongly denied that he had committed any financial irregularities himself. And instead he pointed the finger at supporters of Jean-François Copé, who at the time was head of Sarkozy's political party the UMP.  Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan was in court in Paris to hear the former president give evidence.

Sarkozy shuns court as election funding trial rekindles old party infighting


The delayed trial of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and 13 others over the financing of his failed 2012 presidential election campaign finally got under way on Thursday May 20th in Paris. Sarkozy, the only one of the accused not to appear in court, is accused of the “illegal funding of an election campaign” and faces up to a year in prison and a fine of up to 3,750 euros if found guilty. The prosecution says the ex-president's election campaign spent nearly double the 22.5-million-euro legal spending limit. To hide this illegal overspend a PR and events company is said to have sent fake bills to Sarkozy's UMP party (now called Les Républicains) rather than the election campaign itself. Sarkozy, who was convicted of corruption and influence peddling in a separate case on March 1st, and all the other accused deny the charges. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan was in court to hear the divisions that are already emerging between the different defendants.

France presidential hopeful in pastry price gaffe

France — Link

Right-winger Jean-Francois Copé was asked if he knew how much a 'pain au chocolat' cost - and massively underestimated it.

Sarkozy's former allies openly turn on their old boss

France — Analysis

For a long time Nicolas Sarkozy's former allies avoided personal attacks on the former president, even after they had become his political adversaries in the contest to choose the Right's presidential candidate for 2017. Now, however, the gloves are off and some on the Right are openly talking about the string of political and financial scandals in which the ex-president is currently embroiled. For the first time, report Ellen Salvi and Mathilde Mathieu, Sarkozy now looks politically vulnerable to the sheer weight of the scandals and criticism bearing down on him.

Sarkozy questioned over 2012 campaign fine

France — Link

Investigation centres on claims UMP party should not have paid Sarkozy's fine after former president's 2012 campaign broke election spending limits.

Former French opposition leader Copé faces probe over Sarkozy fine

France — Link

Jean-François Copé, former head of the UMP, is under formal investigation for misuse of funds after party paid Sarkozy's election fine.

UMP meltdown: the self-destruction of France's main opposition party

France — Analysis

Debts of nearly 80 million euros, a party leader who had to step down over an election funding scandal, warring factions, public attacks, leaked allegations that senior party figures and their relatives have been milking its finances for their own benefit and continuing scandals surrounding its talismanic figure Nicolas Sarkozy... France's main opposition party the UMP seems on the brink of a political abyss. Indeed, one senior figure in it has claimed that the right-wing party is “already dead”. Mathilde Mathieu, Ellen Salvi and Marine Turchi report on a party crisis that shows no sign of abating and could end in its destruction.

French opposition UMP party faces 80 million euro debt mountain

France — Link

Audit says the UMP must cut running costs and seek new credit agreements with its banks as new party bosses try to 'guarantee its survival'.

Sarkozy allies urge him to return and lead divided French opposition

France — Link

Supporters of the former president have queued up to say he should stand for leadership of conservative UMP party which is engulfed by crisis.

Head of French conservative opposition forced to resign over funding scam

France — Link

Jean-Francois Copé quits leadership of the UMP party amid an escalating scandal of fraudulent funding of Nicolas Sarkozy's election campaign.

France's right-wing opposition party accused of shady deals with events firm

France — Link

Party boss Jean-François Copé, whose friends run the company, dismisses claims as politically motivated on eve of Euro elections.

French opposition chief caught in party 'sting' scandal

France — Link

Press report says UMP leader Jean-François Copé handed lucrative PR contract to former aides who systematically overcharged his party.

French Socialists deny plan to scrap school headscarf ban

France — Link

President François Hollande says much-attacked report on new approach to integration is 'not at all' the position of the government.

France should allow headscarves, Arabic in schools - report to PM

France — Link

Report provokes political row as opposition claim recommendations would pave way for multiculturalism to be the new social model in France.

Children political ‘hostages’ in row over French schools

France — Link

Ruling socialists accuse conservative opposition of exploiting teething problems in the government’s reform of length of primary school day.