Ex-President Sarkozy Detained for Interrogation over Corruption Charges: Sarkozy Nous Voila !
Arrivée de Nicolas Sarkozy à l’Office anti-corruption de la Police judiciaire, le 1er juillet à Nanterre. (Photo Dominique Faget. AFP)
The Guardian reports,
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has been taken into police custody for questioning as part of an inquiry into alleged abuse of power.
The unprecedented step followed the arrest of Sarkozy’s lawyer and two magistrates who are under investigation for allegedly using their influence to obtain information about legal cases against him.
Detectives are trying to establish whether the former leader promised a top-level job in Monaco to a magistrate in return for letting him know whether corruption allegations against him would go to court. Sarkozy denies any wrong-doing.
The police move on Tuesday represents a blow to Sarkozy’s hopes of making a political comeback in 2017. The former president is said to have been hoping to profit from the disarray and lack of leadership in his centre-right UMP party, which is itself also mired in legal investigations, to stand for president again.
(Note: This has been a major story in the French press.It’s often forgotten in the UK that the success of the Front National has affected the classic Right as much as the left).
It is alleged that information obtained from tapping the former leader’s phone conversations with his lawyer, Thierry Herzog, a controversial and unusual step, suggested there had been what was referred to as a “traffic of influence”.
Police were listening in to Sarkozy’s calls as part of a separate investigation into claims he accepted illegal donations from former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi for his 2007 presidential election campaign. Sarkozy served one term in office before being beaten by the Socialist candidate François Holland in 2012.
When he discovered his phone was tapped, Sarkozy allegedly obtained another phone under the pseudonym Paul Bismuth, to talk to his lawyer.
In the taped conversations, detectives allegedly heard information that Herzog had been tipped off by a magistrate about a legal decision over yet another police investigation into whether or not Sarkozy also accepted illegal campaign funds from France’s richest woman, the L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.
Comment: in France traditionally these cases, or ‘affaires’, become so involved and intricate that they recall the famous remark by Lord Palmerston,
The Schleswig-Holstein question is so complicated, only three men in Europe have ever understood it. One was Prince Albert, who is dead. The second was a German professor who became mad. I am the third and I have forgotten all about it.
I simply remember this,
Sarkozy Nous Voila !