Nicolas Sarkozy

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.

Sarkozy-Libya funding probe: judges investigating witness tampering say case is 'of major gravity’

France — Investigation

Documents to which Mediapart has obtained access reveal evidence suggesting how a witness tampering plot was mounted to discredit the case against former French president Nicolas Sarkozy in a judicial investigation into the alleged funding of his 2007 election campaign by the regime of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. According to judges investigating the alleged plot, it was “aimed at influencing the statements of a witness and to mislead, even to publicly discredit, the examining magistrates in charge of a case of particular sensitivity”. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report.

Sarkozy-Libyan funding case: the bizarre inside story of attempted manipulation

France — Investigation

In November 2020 Ziad Takieddine, a key witness in the judicial investigation into Libyan funding of Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential election campaign, retracted his evidence. The apparent volte-face by a man who had previously said Nicolas Sarkozy had been corrupted by Libyan money in the affair was seized on by the former president's supporters as a turning point in the lengthy judicial saga. But Takieddine's retraction was not a genuine one. New legal documents seen by Mediapart – who originally broke the story of the alleged funding scandal - show the scale of the media manipulation used to help Nicolas Sarkozy. The former president's role in this is now at the heart of this part of the investigation. So, too, is the role played by the so-called 'queen of the paparazzi' Michèle 'Mimi' Marchand who is currently in custody in connection with the case. She has told detectives that her role in the affair was to: “Kill Mediapart”.  Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report.  

Michèle Marchand: a woman at the heart of power in France


The “queen of the paparazzi” Michèle 'Mimi' Marchand, who is currently in the news in relation to aspects of the probe into Libyan funding of Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign, is reported to be close to Brigitte and Emmanuel Macron. She was a regular visitor to the Élysée at the start of President Macron's term of office in 2017, though became a more discreet presence after July 2018 and the emergence of the Benalla affair, when the president's personal security advisor Alexandre Benalla was videoed beating up protestors. Yet the influential position that the presidential couple granted her at the centre of power in France continues to raise questions, reports Ellen Salvi.

Sarkozy-Libya funding affair: paparazzi boss Michèle Marchand detained over alleged bail breach

France — Investigation

French paparazzi agency boss Michèle Marchand, an influential PR fixer for politicians and confidante of presidents, has been taken into custody for breaching bail conditions. Earlier in June Marchand, nicknamed 'Mimi', was placed under formal investigation for witness tampering and criminal conspiracy in relation to an aspect of the long-running investigation into suspected Libyan financing of Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign. But she was subsequently released on bail. However, Mediapart has learnt from several sources that she was taken into detention on Friday June 18th for apparently breaching a condition of that bail. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske, Yann Philippin and Antton Rouget report.

Prosecutors seek jail term for Sarkozy in campaign funding trial

France — Link

The former president was also attacked for his 'cavalier' approach towards the court, at the end of proceedings in the trial over alleged campaign finance violations for his 2012 reelection bid.

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.

French paparazzi agency boss under investigation for witness tampering in Sarkozy-Libya funding affair

France — Investigation

French paparazzi agency boss Michèle Marchand, an influential PR fixer for politicians, was on Saturday placed under formal investigation for witness tampering and criminal conspiracy. The move relates to the public retraction by a key witness of part of his previous testimony to a judicial probe that Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign was funded by the regime of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report.

Every man for himself! Defendants in Sarkozy campaign funding trial seek to deflect blame


Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and 13 other defendants are facing a variety of charges over the massive and illegal overspend in the ex-head of state's presidential election campaign in 2012 and the attempts to hide it. The prosecution claims that the public relations and events firm Bygmalion helped to conceal this multi-million-euro overspend by issuing fake bills for staging political rallies to Sarkozy's political party, the UMP, rather than just the election campaign itself. But Bygmalion's executives at the company and its events subsidiary have no intention of shouldering the blame for what happened. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléán was in court to hear the evidence from one of them, Franck Attal.

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.

Ex-president Sarkozy returns to trial in campaign funding case

France — Link

Prosecutors allege that Sarkozy’s conservative party splurged nearly double the 22.5 million euros permitted under electoral law on lavish campaign rallies, and then hired a friendly public relations agency to hide the cost.

Sarkozy conviction reveals the forest of corruption in France

France — Analysis

The significance of the conviction of former president Nicolas Sarkozy in the 'Paul Bismuth' phone tap affair goes wider than one case, says Mediapart's Fabrice Arfi. It highlights the extent to which France is a country riddled with corruption.