Former French presidents are provided for life with a system of privileges that are estimated to cost the French taxpayer between 1.5 and 2 million euros per former president per year. In the case of Nicolas Sarkozy, elected last year as head of the conservative UMP party ahead of his expected bid to regain the presidential office, the taxpayer funds, among other perks, his central-Paris offices and staff which cost, respectively, 215,392 euros and 663,000 euros per year. Mediapart publishes here the detailed costs of Sarkozy’s startling privileges paid by the public purse, never previously revealed. They raise serious questions over the dividing line for the use of the funds, between the personal and political activities of former president, who meanwhile argues for drastic reductions in public spending and the reform of social benefits paid to the worse-off. Mathilde Mathieu reports.