How the Aga Khan was exonerated from taxes by Sarkozy

International — Investigation

In a letter signed in 2008, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy used exceptional powers to exonerate the Aga Khan, one of the world’s richest royals, from paying any form of tax in France, where he is a resident, Mediapart can reveal. The fiscal status was approved by then-budget minister Eric Woerth, mayor of, and Member of Parliament for, the town of Chantilly, north of Paris, where the Aga Khan initiated and largely funded the financial rescue of the town’s historic racecourse and equestrian centre. The letter, dated April 4th 2008 and exclusively revealed here, promised that the religious leader would benefit from an “exoneration of direct taxes, stamp duty and wealth tax.” Woerth is currently cited in two judicial investigations into suspected corruption, one involving the financial affairs of L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, the other into the sale of state-owned forest land to a horse-racing company in Compiègne, close to Chantilly. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

Former French budget minister faces formal investigation over 'illegal' land sale


Former French budget minister Eric Woerth faces being placed under formal investigation - one step short of being charged - over a sale he ordered when in office of state-owned forest land to a horse-racing company, after a preliminary enquiry into the deal has been told it was concluded at just one third of the real value, Mediapart can reveal.