Sarkozy scandals in brief

Sarkozy scandals in brief

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 3:21 pm

PARIS (AFP) – The main legal cases which involve former president Nicolas Sarkozy:

– Influence peddling –

The probe that landed Sarkozy in custody Tuesday. The former president and his longtime lawyer Thierry Herzog are suspected of illegally trying to influence proceedings in another case known as the Bettencourt affair, notably by offering a magistrate help in securing a lucrative job in Monaco in return for inside information. The magistrate did not get the posting. Sarkozy, Herzog and the two magistrates have been detained for questioning but have not been charged with any crime.

– Cash from Kadhafi? –

Judges have, since April 2013, been examining claims that former Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi’s regime financed Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign to the tune of 50 million euros. Sarkozy says the claim is ridiculous and is suing Mediapart, the website which first reported the alleged payment, for defamation.

Judges authorised the unprecedented step of tapping the phone of the former president as part of the investigation. The taps form the basis for the influence peddling investigation.

– The Bettencourt affair –

Relates to allegations Sarkozy’s UMP party accepted illicit payments from the L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt for his 2007 campaign, much of it in cash-filled envelopes. Sarkozy was cleared last year of taking advantage of the elderly woman when she was too frail to understand what she was doing. His campaign treasurer is one of 10 people awaiting trial in the case.

– 2012 election funding –

A criminal investigation was opened last month after it emerged that 10 million euros ($13.6 million) spent in support of Sarkozy’s 2012 campaign had been fraudulently passed off as UMP party expenses.

Sarkozy denies any knowledge of, or role in, the apparent fraud. UMP leader Jean-Francois Cope was forced to resign over the issue.

– The Karachi affair –

Long-running investigation in which two former Sarkozy aides have been charged by judges investigating alleged kickbacks on a Pakistani arms deal concluded when Sarkozy was budget minister.

A shell company was allegedly used to channel kickbacks to then prime minister Edouard Balladur’s unsuccessful 1995 presidential bid, which Sarkozy helped run.

Magistrates are also probing whether a 2002 Karachi bombing that killed 11 French engineers was revenge for the cancellation of bribes secretly promised to Pakistani officials.

– Tapie payout –

A criminal investigation is ongoing over a controversial 400-million-euro ($557-million) payout by the French state to tycoon Bernard Tapie in 2008.

Judges are looking at whether Tapie received favourable treatment in the case as a reward for supporting Sarkozy in the 2007 presidential election.

– Opinion polls –

A criminal investigation is ongoing into the management of contracts for opinion polling carried out during Sarkozy’s 2007-12 term as president.

The probe was triggered by anti-graft organisation Anticor, which says the contracts were handed to political cronies without any tender process, and that public funds were used to carry out party political electoral research.

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