Keyword: Thierry Herzog

Sarkozy conviction reveals the forest of corruption in France

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Nicolas Sarkozy arriving at the court in Paris on Monday 1st March 2021. © Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP Nicolas Sarkozy arriving at the court in Paris on Monday 1st March 2021. © Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

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 is riddled with corruption.

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Former president Nicolas Sarkozy found guilty of corruption in phone tap affair

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Nicolas Sarkozy arriving at the court in Paris on Monday 1st March 2021. Nicolas Sarkozy arriving at the court in Paris on Monday 1st March 2021.

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.

Sarkozy corruption trial defence attack 'empty' prosecution case

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Nicolas Sarkozy on December 8th 2020 as he arrived at court in Paris to hear the prosecution in his corruption trial sum up its case. © Martin Bureau/AFP Nicolas Sarkozy on December 8th 2020 as he arrived at court in Paris to hear the prosecution in his corruption trial sum up its case. © Martin Bureau/AFP

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.

'We can't allow an ex-president to forget about the Republic': prosecutor urges two years in jail for Sarkozy

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Nicolas Sarkozy at the courtoom in Paris, December 8th 2020. © Martin Bureau/AFP Nicolas Sarkozy at the courtoom in Paris, December 8th 2020. © Martin Bureau/AFP

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.

Sarkozy gives evidence at corruption trial: 'My life has been about lending a hand'

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Nicolas Sarkozy and his lawyer Jacqueline Laffont at the court in Paris on November 26th, 2020. © Mehdi Taamallah/NurPhoto/AFP Nicolas Sarkozy and his lawyer Jacqueline Laffont at the court in Paris on November 26th, 2020. © Mehdi Taamallah/NurPhoto/AFP

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.

Confusion and delay: Sarkozy corruption trial gets off to uncertain start

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Nicolas Sarkozy at the court building in Paris for his trial, November 30th 2020. © Stéphane de Sakutin/AFP Nicolas Sarkozy at the court building in Paris for his trial, November 30th 2020. © Stéphane de Sakutin/AFP

The high-profile trial of Nicolas Sarkozy, in which he is accused of trying to use his influence to find out confidential judicial information, is finally under way in Paris. But the case, the first in which a former French president has faced corruption charges, has been beset by a string of disruptions and by sometimes confusing legal disputes. The result so far, says Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan, is a trial that has not yet done justice to the issues that are at stake.

Sarkozy says he is victim of 6 years of 'slander' as trial opens

Sarkozy has become France's first modern head of state to appear in the dock on charges of corruption and influence peddling.

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

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Justice minister Éric Dupond-Moretti, September 24th, 2020. © Alain JOCARD / AFP Justice minister Éric Dupond-Moretti, September 24th, 2020. © Alain JOCARD / AFP

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

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Defence lawyer turned minister of justice Éric Dupond-Moretti and ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy. © AFP Defence lawyer turned minister of justice Éric Dupond-Moretti and ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy. © AFP

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

Libyan funding: police find evidence in Élysée of bid to clear Gaddafi henchman

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Security chief Abdullah Senussi  in August 2011, just before the fall of the Libyan regime under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. © Reuters Security chief Abdullah Senussi in August 2011, just before the fall of the Libyan regime under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. © Reuters

Investigators probing claims that the Libyan regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi funded Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign have unearthed a key piece of evidence in the archives of the Élysée. It shows that on May 16th, 2009, the middleman Ziad Takieddine visited the Élysée to meet Sarkozy's right-hand man Claude Guéant. The object was to “set aside the arrest warrant” targeting Colonel Gaddafi's brother-in-law and security chief Abdullah Senussi, who had been convicted in absentia for his part in the 1989 bombing of a French UTA airline DC10 passenger plane over Niger, in which 170 people lost their lives. There is growing suspicion that an agreement to resolve Senussi's situation was a key component of the Libyan funding corruption plot. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske.

The Libyan who unearthed secret Gaddafi regime archives on airliner bombing

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Samir Shegwara, who has unearthed key documents relating to the bombing of a French airliner in 1989. © Mediapart Samir Shegwara, who has unearthed key documents relating to the bombing of a French airliner in 1989. © Mediapart

The recent revelations by Mediapart about the secret plot by Nicolas Sarkozy's followers to clear the name of a Libyan spy chief owe a great deal to one man: Samir Shegwara. It was this city councillor from Libya who sifted through the regime's old archives after the fall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in the 2011 revolution. There he unearthed key documents about the bombing of the UTA DC 10 carried out by Libyans in 1989, and about the subsequent efforts by Sarkozy's team to help the man convicted over the terror attack - Gaddafi's brother-in-law and security chief Abdullah Senussi. Mediapart went to meet him. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

Libyan funding: Sarkozy clan's secret plan to clear man behind airliner bombing

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Security chief Abdullah Senussi  in August 2011, just before the fall of the Libyan regime under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. © Reuters Security chief Abdullah Senussi in August 2011, just before the fall of the Libyan regime under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. © Reuters

According to documents gathered by an elected official in Tripoli, in 2005 Nicolas Sarkozy's close friend and personal lawyer Thierry Herzog offered to get an arrest warrant and conviction against a senior Libyan official – who was blamed for a terrorist attack - quashed. The man in question, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's brother-in-law and security chief Abdullah Senussi, had been given a life prison sentence in his absence for masterminding the 1989 bombing of a French UTA airline DC10 passenger plane over Niger, in which 170 people lost their lives. The documents, seen by Mediapart, also show that Herzog was taken to Tripoli to discuss the affair by Francis Szpiner, the lawyer for the victims of the attack, though the latter has denied making the trip. The revelations point to a potential quid pro quo to explain why the Libyan regime would have been willing to help fund Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign, claims over which the former president is being investigated. Karl Laske and Fabrice Arfi report.

Sarkozy to go on trial for corruption and 'influence peddling'

Case based on wiretapped phone-calls in which Mr Sarkozy allegedly sought to influence judge and get leaks into progress of investigation.

The corruption pact behind the suitcases of Libyan cash sent to Paris

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Left to right: Nicolas Sarkozy, Ziad Takieddine, Claude Guéant, Abdullah al-Senussi and Sarkozy's lawyer Thierry Herzog. Left to right: Nicolas Sarkozy, Ziad Takieddine, Claude Guéant, Abdullah al-Senussi and Sarkozy's lawyer Thierry Herzog.

Mediapart is publishing four documents which prove that from 2005 to 2009 Nicolas Sarkozy and his aides tried to extricate Libyan spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi from his legal problems in France where he had been convicted for his involvement in the bombing of a passenger plane over Africa. The same Senussi is suspected of having sent five million euros in Libyan cash to Sarkozy and his chief of staff Claude Guéant before the 2007 presidential election - as revealed by the man who says he physically carried the money, arms dealer Ziad Takieddine. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

Sarkozy one step closer to corruption trial as judges uphold phone tap evidence

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Nicolas Sarkozy's hopes of returning to the Elysée suffered a potential blow on Tuesday when France's top court approved the use of telephone taps that led to the former president being formally investigated for “corruption” and “influence peddling”. The decision by the Cour de Cassation to reject Sarkozy's appeal means that he could soon face charges and be sent for trial over the allegations, which concern his alleged attempts to obtain confidential information about another legal affair that involved him. Though he has not formally announced his candidacy for the Right's autumn primary ahead of the 2017 presidential election, it is widely expected that Sarkozy will stand. But the electoral road is likely to be tougher for Sarkozy if he is facing a trial on corruption charges. Michel Deléan reports.