Sarkozy in court over campaign funds

2012-11-22 10:00
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

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

kalahari.com

Paris - Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was due to appear before an examining magistrate in Bordeaux on Thursday to respond to charges that his 2007 electoral campaign was financed with funds secured illegally from France's richest woman.

In a case that could wreck the 57-year-old's hopes of a political comeback, Sarkozy is suspected of taking financial advantage of elderly L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt at a time when she was too frail to fully understand what she was doing.

Examining magistrate Jean-Michel Gentil is expected to spend most of the day quizzing Sarkozy about how he obtained funding from Bettencourt.

Judicial sources have said the 57-year-old could be formally indicted on a charge of taking advantage of someone in a position of weakness, although the magistrate also has the option of interrogating him as a witness under caution.

Bettencourt is now 90 years old and has been in poor health since 2006.

The allegation against Sarkozy is two-fold: That the money obtained from her took his campaign financing over legal limits and that it had been secured without her full knowledge or consent.

This latter claim was made by Bettencourt's former accountant, Claire Thibout in 2010. She told police that she had handed €150 000 in cash to Bettencourt's right-hand man, Patrice de Maistre, on the understanding it was to be passed on to Sarkozy's campaign treasurer, Eric Woerth.

Diaries seized


Maistre, one of the biggest backers of Sarkozy's UMP party, withdrew a total of €4m in cash from Bettencourt's Swiss bank account in seven instalments between 2007 and 2009.

Investigators suspect some or all of the money could have found its way to Sarkozy or his party.

In July, the examining magistrate ordered the seizure of Sarkozy's diaries in order to establish what he was doing around the time the cash was being moved.

French authorities confirmed this week they have also opened a preliminary investigation over the management of opinion polls carried out during Sarkozy's 2007-12 term as president.

That probe was triggered by anti-graft organisation Anticor, which suspects the former president of having handed the contract for the polls to a company, Publifact, run by his former advisor Patrick Buisson, and of using public funds to carry out his own party political electoral research.

Sarkozy, who was in London on Wednesday giving a lecture to business figures, has not ruled out another tilt at the presidency in 2017. Aides refused to comment on either case.

Separately, Sarkozy is pursuing a defamation suit against online news website Mediapart over a report that former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi provided €50m for his 2007 campaign.

Read more on:    l'oreal  |  liliane bettencourt  |  nicolas sarkozy  |  france
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

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
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Music

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You are in a curious mood and you want to be the first to know what is happening. You may find yourself drawn into cyber chatting...read more

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.