Nicolas Sarkozy

Sarkozy corruption trial postponed until Thursday

France — Link

The trial in Paris of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy for allegedly trying to bribe a magistrate in return for information about an investigation into his party finances was suspended shortly after it opened on Wednesday to allow a medical examination of one of the two other defendants.

Libyan funding of Sarkozy campaign: Takieddine retracts, the evidence remains

France — Investigation

Ziad Takieddine, the ruined businessman who is on the run after being convicted in a separate political corruption case in France, has told Paris Match magazine and BFM-TV news channel that there was “no Libyan funding” of Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign. This contradicts what he has previously told a judicial investigation into the affair and various media. But he maintains that he did hand over cash to Sarkozy's former chief of staff Claude Guéant. The former president himself immediately made clear his delight at Takieddine's retraction. Just a few days ago Sarkozy had described the middleman as a “madman” and a “manipulator”. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

Libyan funding case: what Sarkozy told the judges

France — Investigation

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was subjected to four days of questioning earlier this month by judges leading a complex investigation into evidence of Libyan funding of his 2007 election campaign, at the end of which he was formally placed under investigation for “criminal conspiracy”. Mediapart has obtained access to the transcripts of the interrogation, during which he insisted on his innocence and laid responsibility for any wrongdoing on his two longstanding, loyal right-hand men, Claude Guéant and Brice Hortefeux, describing their dealings with Libya and intermediaries as, variously, “incomprehensible”, an “error” and a “mistake”. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

Nicolas Sarkozy placed under investigation for 'conspiracy' over Libyan funding claims

France — Investigation

The decision by judges to place the former president under formal investigation – one step short of charges being brought – relates to claims that his 2007 presidential campaign was financed in part by the Libyan regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. In 2018 Sarkozy was placed under formal investigation in relation to the same inquiry for “illicit funding of an electoral campaign”, “receiving and embezzling public funds” and “passive corruption”. This new move by investigating judges means that for the first time a former head of state in France formally faces claims of “criminal conspiracy”. The ex-president denies any wrongdoing. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report on the latest developments in the long-running investigation.

French justice minister Éric Dupond-Moretti faces legal complaint over conflict of interest

France — Investigation

An anti-corruption activist has lodged a formal complaint against France's new justice minister Éric Dupond-Moretti, accusing the latter of an unlawful conflict of interest. The complaint has been made to the Cour de Justice de la République, a special court which deals with allegations of unlawful actions by ministers in the course of their official duties. The move follows a call by the justice minister for three prosecutors from the country's financial crimes prosecution unit to face disciplinary action. This is despite the fact that just a few weeks ago Dupond-Moretti, then a barrister, had made a formal complaint against those very same prosecutors. Fabrice Arfi and Michel Deléan report

Blow for Sarkozy as prosecutors cleared over hunt for 'mole' who tipped him off about phone tap

France

In 2014 prosecutors from France's financial crimes prosecution unit the Parquet National Financier (PNF) wanted to discover the identity of the 'mole' inside the legal world who had tipped off Nicolas Sarkozy that his phones were being tapped as part of what became known as the 'Bismuth' affair. When details of this hunt were revealed by Le Point magazine it caused an outcry among many top lawyers - including defence lawyer Éric Dupond-Moretti who is now the minister of justice - and an investigation was launched into the actions of the PNF. At the time, many in the former president's entourage felt the revelations proved there was a sustained attempt to discredit him. But the Ministry's of Justice's inspectorate which investigated the affair has just reported, and finds that the PNF's actions were legal and proper. As Fabrice Arfi and Michel Deléan report, the report's verdict will be seen as a setback for the ex-head of state

Sarkozy in racism row after ‘monkey’ comment

France — Link

Former French president appeared to reference controversial the Agatha Christie novel now known as 'And Then There Were None' on TV show in discussion about whether he was allowed to use the word 'monkey'.

Revealed: the explosive phone taps involving France's ex-spy chief Bernard Squarcini

France — Investigation

Mediapart is publishing a series of recordings of police phone taps involving the former head of France's domestic intelligence agency, Bernard Squarcini. These extraordinary tapes, which date from 2013, reveal the de facto existence of a state within a state, where private and public interests became intertwined. The first series of judicially-approved recordings reveal how after leaving his intelligence post Squarcini, nicknamed 'La Squale' ('The Shark'), was asked by the French luxury goods group LVMH to “infiltrate” an independent magazine in order to spy on it. Neither Squarcini nor LVMH wanted to comment on the content of the tapes. Fabrice Arfi and Pascale Pascariello report.

Revenant Sarkozy takes to stage in conservative bid for Paris city hall

France — Report

France holds nationwide local elections beginning next weekend, in the most significant test of the country’s political parties since Emmanuel Macron’s election as president in 2017 and the thumping victory of his LREM party in ensuing parliamentary elections. In the two-round polling, the prize catch will be Paris, where the conservative Les Républicains hope to wrestle power from socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo. Their candidate, Rachida Dati, held her last campaign meeting this week when her political mentor, Nicolas Sarkozy, made a rare public appearance. Despite being under investigation in several serious corruption probes, the former French president, surrounded by his old guard, received a rock-star reception from an enraptured audience. Lucie Delaporte witnessed the extraordinary scenes.

New twist in Sarkozy-Libyan funding case after arrest of key former aide

France — Investigation

In January 2020 Thierry Gaubert, a former close aide to Nicolas Sarkozy, was arrested and then placed under formal investigation for “criminal conspiracy” in relation to claims that the former president's 2007 election campaign was funded with Libyan money. Gaubert is now free on bail, but banned from meeting with either Sarkozy or the ex-head of state's long-standing friend and ally Brice Hortefeux. As Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report, this move marks a major turning point in the long-running judge-led investigation.

Fugitive suspect in Sarkozy-Gaddafi funding probe jailed in France

France — Investigation

One of the key suspects in the marathon judicial probe into alleged funding of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign by the regime of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was this weekend placed in preventive detention in France after losing a two-year legal battle to avoid his extradition from Britain. French judges have formally placed Alexandre Djouhri under investigation for nine alleged offences, including “active corruption”, aiding and abetting, and receiving, the proceeds of the “misappropriation of public funds”, “money laundering the proceeds of corruption”, “forgery and the use of forgeries” and “tax fraud”. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

Qatar 2022: Sarkozy aide memos point to Élysée deal

International — Investigation

Key documents seen by Mediapart shed new light on the award of the 2022 football World Cup to Qatar. The documents, written to then French president Nicolas Sarkozy by his sports advisor, relate to a lunch that took place at the Élysée Palace in 2010, just days before the crucial vote to decide the tournament’s host country. They reveal that the then boss of European football ruling body UEFA, Michel Platini, had been “reluctant” to back the Gulf state, but had been convinced to switch his vote to it by the end of the meeting with the French president and key figures from Qatar. Yann Philippin and Antton Rouget report.

Judge-led French probe starts into award of 2022 football World Cup to Qatar

France — Investigation

In June 2019 Michel Platini, the former head of European football's governing body UEFA, was interviewed by police as a witness over the circumstances of the award of the 2022 football World Cup to Qatar. Two former colleagues of Nicolas Sarkozy were also questioned about a lunch hosted for Qatar's crown prince by the French president in 2010, attended by Platini, just days before the controversial vote to give the tournament to the oil and gas-rich state. Now the French financial crimes prosecution unit has launched a judicial investigation into the affair over alleged “corruption”, Mediapart has learnt. Former French football star Platini has strongly denied any wrongdoing. Yann Philippin and Antton Rouget report.

Revealed: Sarkozy aide received Libyan funds in secret offshore account

International — Investigation

An investigation by Mediapart has confirmed that a longstanding close aide to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy received 440,000 euros in a secret offshore account paid from Libyan funds one year before the 2007 French presidential elections, casting further suspicion that Sarkozy’s successful bid was partly financed by the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The money was transferred by a shell company belonging to a French-Lebanese intermediary who is central to the funding allegations, through which transited several millions of euros from the Tripoli regime. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

Sarkozy set to stand trial over 2012 campaign after last appeal fails

France — Link

Verdict by the French Cour de Cassation means prosecutors will now decide whether ex-president faces court over massive campaign overspend.