Former Sarkozy adviser charged with embezzling state funds

2015-07-30 12:42
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy. (Lionel Bonaventure, AFP)

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy. (Lionel Bonaventure, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - A one-time adviser to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was charged on Wednesday with abusing his position to profit from state funds, as part of an inquiry into alleged fraud in awarding contracts to opinion polling companies.

Patrick Buisson also faces charges of misuse of public money and embezzlement during Sarkozy's 2007-2012 term, according to a judicial source, relating to opinion polls ordered by the presidency during the period.

Judges suspect that contracts were awarded without the required tender process and that some of the polling was for party political ends.

A second man who remains an advisor to Sarkozy, Pierre Giacometti, was in police detention on Wednesday as part of the same inquiry, but has not been formally charged.

French investigators questioned six officials who served under Sarkozy over alleged fraud in June, but all were released without charge.

Self-styled loyalist

Buisson's Publifact and Giacometti's Giacometti-Peron were among nine polling firms regularly contracted to undertake surveys for the Elysee Palace.

France's national audit office censured Publifact in 2009 for a $1.65m agreement that it said failed to comply with regular tender procedures.

A probe into the alleged irregularities was ordered by anti-graft organisation Anticor in 2012, once Sarkozy had lost an election to socialist President Francois Hollande.

A former historian and journalist, Buisson is a self-styled royalist with links to the far right whose relationship with Sarkozy has badly soured since he left office.

In March 2014, Buisson was ordered to pay $28 000 in damages to the former leader and his wife after extracts of tapes he secretly recorded were published on news site Atlantico.

The revelation of what Buisson was doing whilst working as a close confidant of the centre-right president sent shockwaves through the French political class.

The case is one of several fraud probes that have ensnared the 60-year-old former president who made a dramatic return to frontline politics last year and quickly won back control of the opposition.

Despite his legal woes, Sarkozy is expected to make another run at the presidency in 2017 elections.

Read more on:    nicolas sarkozy  |  france

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.