23 November 2020
Nicolas Sarkozy was president of France between 2007 and 2012. He is expected to appear in court today charged of corruption. This is the first time a former president is charged with such an offence.
Authorities had information that he had a received an undeclared and illegal €50m donation from Colonel Gaddafi of Libya to fund his successful 2007 presidential campaign. He is alleged to have party worked with a friendly public relations firm to hide the true cost of his campaign.
The authorities began monitoring his telephone communications in September 2013. He is also accused of receiving alleged kickbacks from arms sales to Pakistan.
In the process of wire-tap, they found out that he used a false name of Paul Bismuth whenever he talked to his lawyer Thierry Herzog. He also used mobile phones registered under false name of of Paul Bismuth. They also found out that Sarkozy was trying to get confidential information from a senior magistrate, Gilbert Azibert, about a separate investigation into whether Sarkozy received illegal donations from the ailing L’Oréal heiress, Liliane Bettencourt. In return for the information he and his lawyer are alleged to have promised the magistrate a high office in Monaco. The magistrate did not get the job. Nevertheless both the magistrate and the lawyer Herzog are being charged with corruption, influence peddling and violating professional secrecy.