Nicolas Sarkozy

Qatar 2022: a cup brimming over with scandal

International

The 2022 World Cup, steeped in controversy, finally opened in Qatar on Sunday. All of those who, through multiple dealings and arrangements, accepted or promoted its hosting by the Gulf state, have an enormous amount to answer for over their responsibility for the consequences, notably the deaths of thousands of migrant construction workers, an environmental disaster and political scandal. Michaël Hajdenberg presents a brief analysis of what we know of the dark background to the tournament.

Sarkozy-Libya: deleted messages suggest ex-president was kept informed about witness retraction

France — Investigation

Previously-deleted digital conversations that have been retrieved by an IT expert show that well-connected Paris paparazzi boss Michèle 'Mimi' Marchand oversaw from start to finish an operation which led to the false retraction of a witness statement by Ziad Takieddine. Takieddine is a key witness in the affair that centres on claims that the Libyan regime helped fund Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign. In those same messages Marchand stated that she was keeping the former president – who was given the nickname 'Zébulon' – informed in real time of events concerning the Takieddine evidence retraction saga. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report.

Charges and trial loom as Gaddafi-Sarkozy funding investigations draw to a close

France

Active investigations in a mammoth and unprecedented nine-year judicial probe into the suspected illegal funding of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign by the regime of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi drew to a close this month, leading to a second legal phase before charges are brought and a trial ordered. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske detail the principal conclusions of the investigations and the roles of the key suspects in this extraordinary and complex case.  

What the hard disk of close Sarkozy ally reveals about the Gaddafi funding affair

Justice — Investigation

In what appears to be a significant development in the French judicial investigation into the suspected illegal financing of Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign by the regime of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, the probe has discovered evidence pointing to the involvement in the alleged funding of Thierry Gaubert, a longstanding friend and political ally of the former French president. This centres on the contents of a computer hard disk belonging to Gaubert, seized in 2011 in a separate case concerning him, and which have only now come to light. In this first of a two-part report, Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske detail the findings and their implications for Sarkozy.

When Macron sent a twice-convicted man to represent France at Abe’s funeral

Justice — Analysis

At the request of Emmanuel Macron, Nicolas Sarkozy travelled to Tokyo to represent France at the state funeral on Tuesday of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe. That was despite the fact that the former French president has two convictions, and notably one for corruption, and that he is currently placed under investigation for “criminal conspiracy”, “corruption”, “illicit campaign financing” and “receiving the proceeds of the misappropriation of public funds” in relation to the alleged Libyan funding of his 2007 election campaign. Fabrice Arfi and Ilyes Ramdani report.

Libyan payment to Sarkozy 'cardinal' confirmed by Paris appeal court

France

Former French interior minister Claude Guéant, who served for years as chief of staff of Nicolas Sarkozy before and after he became president, received 500,000 euros paid through a complex money trail that led back to a sovereign wealth fund controlled by the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, a Paris appeal court has confirmed. The payment was made when Guéant, dubbed “the cardinal” because of his power and influence as Sarkozy’s right-hand man, was secretary general of the Élysée Palace. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

Ex-Sarkozy chief of staff Claude Guéant convicted of polling fraud

France — Link

Already detained in jail over a previous conviction for misuse of public funds, Claude Guéant, a former interior minister and longstanding chief-of-staff for ex-French president Nicolas Sarkozy, was on Friday handed a one-year prison sentence, with four months suspended, for his part in an Élysée Palace opinion survey fraud worth a combined 7.5 million euros, for which three others were also convicted.  

German pressure-hose firm tells French Right to stop using its name

France — Link

German pressure-hose poducer Kärcher has demanded of France's 'political figures and the media to immediately cease all use of its name in the political sphere' after French conservative presidential hopeful Valérie Pécresse re-iterated Nicolas Sarkozy's allusion to it for cleaning out crime in low-income neighbourhoods.

Sarkozy's 'cardinal' Claude Guéant jailed in Paris

France

Claude Guéant, once Nicolas Sarkozy’s right-hand man, a former French police chief who remained faithful throughout the scandals that have since engulfed the former French president, was on Monday jailed in the Santé prison in Paris. Fabrice Arfi and Michel Deléan report on the fall of a man nicknamed ‘The Cardinal’, whose loyalty was rewarded with posts that elevated him to secretary general of the presidential office, the Élysée Palace, and subsequently as Sarkozy’s hardline law-and-order interior minister, who is implicated in numerous corruption scandals and who, in the eyes of investigating magistrates, has yet to tell the full truth of what he knows about his former boss.

Suitcases of cash, threats and violence; the fallout from the Sarkozy-Takieddine affair

France — Investigation

Two people have been remanded in custody in the aftermath of the operation in which Ziad Takieddine, a key witness in the Nicolas Sarkozy-Libyan funding affair, made a false retraction of his evidence. One of the men in detention is the wealthy businessman Pierre Reynaud. As Mediapart can reveal, aspects of the saga have taken on the appearance of a Martin Scorsese crime movie. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report.

Revealed: the extraordinary plan to free one of Gaddafi's sons in bid to help Sarkozy

France — Investigation

France's financial prosecution unit the Parquet National Financier (PNF) has broadened the scope of its investigation into claims that Ziad Takieddine, a key witness over allegations that Libya helped fund Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign, was induced to change his evidence. Well-connected Paris paparazzi boss Michèle 'Mimi' Marchand is one of those under investigation over the allegations. Prosecutors now also want to look at suspicions of an extraordinary plan to bribe judges in order to free one of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi's sons from prison in Lebanon. The idea was that, in exchange, a grateful Hannibal Gaddafi would then speak out and clear the former president's name over the 2007 election funding allegations. As Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report, the affair could potentially now become an international scandal.

Brigitte Macron's embarrassing chat with paparazzi boss under investigation for 'criminal conspiracy'

France — Investigation

In a tapped phone conversation in July, Brigitte Macron, wife of France’s president, told paparazzi agency boss Michèle Marchand, an influential PR fixer to politicians who is formally placed under investigation for witness tampering and criminal conspiracy in a case related to a probe into suspected Libyan funding of former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s election campaign, that she was to contact her security officer for help “if you get bother”. After she encouraged Marchand to “stay firm” following the latter's release from jail, Brigitte Macron also deplored the “terrible” judicial treatment of Sarkozy. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report.

Sarkozy stays silent in witness box at Paris trial of former aides

France — Link

Ex-French president Nicolas Sarkozy appeared on Tuesday, as he was ordered to, as a witness at the trial of his former aides accused of misuse of public funds, but refused to answer questions, arguing that he was accountable 'to the French people, not to a court'.

Ex-French president Sarkozy told to testify in polling fraud trial

France — Link

Sarkozy, who benefits from presidential immunity in the case, had said he would not appear as a witness in the case after being tried and convicted twice this year in separate affairs.

Sarkozy handed one-year jail sentence over campaign finances

France — Link

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has announced he will appeal his conviction for illegal election campaign financing for which he has been handed a one-year prison sentence, which he could serve under house arrest with an electronic tag, and which is his second conviction and jail sentence.