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.
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.
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.
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.
The former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was found guilty by a Paris court on Monday March 1st 2021 of corruption and influence peddling in the case known as the 'Paul Bismuth affair'. The ex-head of state was handed a three-year prison sentence with two of them suspended, though it appears unlikely he will serve time in jail and his lawyer said he will appeal against the conviction. It is the first time in French legal history that a former president of the Republic has been convicted of such serious crimes. The case stemmed from judicially-approved telephone taps of conversations between Nicolas Sarkozy and his friend and lawyer Thierry Herzog, who has also been convicted in the case. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan reports, with additional reporting by Ilyes Ramdani.
The French public prosecution services on Friday confirmed they have opened a preliminary investigation into suspected “influence peddling” in relation to a 3-million-euro contract handed to former president Nicolas Sarkozy by Russian insurance services group RESO-Garantia in 2019. The group, one of the largest insurance companies in Russia, is owned by brothers Sergei and Nikolai Sarkisov, whose business dealings, including the sale of a third of its capital to French insurance giant AXA, have involved complex financial structures in tax havens. Yann Philippin and Antton Rouget report.
French investigative and satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaîné reports that no obvious evidence of work exists to justify the employment as a well-paid parliamentary assistant in 2002-2003 of Nicolas Sarkozy's then wife Cécilia, who was hired by Sarkozy's stand-in as Member of Parliament after he was appointed interior minister.
Two of former president Nicolas Sarkozy's closest allies, Brice Hortefeux and Claude Guéant, have recently been placed under formal investigation for “criminal conspiracy” over claims that the ex-head of state's 2007 election was part-funded by the Libyan regime. Mediapart can now reveal that during questioning by judges both men admitted to lapses in judgement in meeting a spy chief from Muammar Gaddafi's regime who was wanted by the French justice system after being convicted of a terrorist attack. Yet they deny there was any deal for the Libyans to help fund the election campaign. Both men also loyally continue to protect their former boss, who himself faces claims of criminal conspiracy and corruption in the case. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.
In an ongoing judicial investigation in France into suspected corruption surrounding the awarding of the 2022 football World Cup to Qatar, evidence seized at the Paris offices of US firm Colony Capital suggests a well-remunerated post handed to Laurent Platini, son of former football star and UEFA president Michel Platini, by Qatari sovereign fund QSI may have been linked to its purchase of French football club PSG. The probe is focused on a crucial lunch meeting at the Élysée Palace in 2010 hosted by then French president Nicolas Sarkozy, and attended among others by Michel Platini and the then crown prince of Qatar. Yann Philippin unravels a complex case involving heads of state, business, diplomacy and arrangements behind closed doors.
The prosecution has called for jail sentences to be handed out in the Paris corruption trial featuring Nicolas Sarkozy. But in their closing speeches lawyers acting for the former president and his fellow accused, lawyer and close friend Thierry Herzog and retired judge Gilbert Azibert, argued that there was no evidence at all to back the prosecution's claims of corruption and influence peddling. Judgement in the trial has been reserved until March 1st 2021. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan reports from the end of an historic trial, the first in which a former French president has been tried on corruption charges.
The prosecution has called for Nicolas Sarkozy to be given a four-year prison sentence, with two years suspended, in the closing stages of the former president's corruption trial in Paris. Prosecutors also called for a similar sentence for Sarkozy's friend and lawyer Thierry Herzog and retired judge Gilbert Azibert. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan was in court to hear the prosecution sum up their case.
Former president Nicolas Sarkozy has given evidence at the corruption trial in Paris where he is accused of trying to bribe a senior judge in return for confidential judicial information. The ex-head of state was full of anger and indignation at the allegations that have been levelled against him. “I swear to you, the idea that we were doing something we shouldn't could not have been further from my mind!” he told the courtroom. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan was in court to hear Nicolas Sarkozy proclaim his innocence on all charges.