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Archive for September 18, 2011

Sarkozy Received Cash Handouts

Nicolas Sarkozy personally received cash handouts from the L’Oréal cosmetics heiress Liliane Bettencourt for his 2007 election campaign, a judge who first investigated the affair claims in an explosive new book.

Nicolas Sarkozy

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/nicolas-sarkozy/8733452/Nicolas-Sarkozy-received-cash-handouts-from-LOreal-heiress.html

By , Paris, 6:00AM BST 01 Sep 2011

The assertions by the highly respected magistrate Isabelle Prevost-Desprez threaten to reignite a political and financial scandal that gripped France a year ago and rocked Mr Sarkozy’s government.

She makes the claims in “Sarko m’a tuer” (Sarko Killed Me), a book by two investigative journalists from Le Monde newspaper, out today (Thurs). Gérard Davet and Fabrice Lhomme interviewed 27 politicians, magistrates, businessmen and other figures who say they were professionally broken and personally humiliated by Mr Sarkozy and his inner circle.

The authors claim they were bugged, tailed by French secret services and that their flats were mysteriously burgled.

In the book, Miss Desprez cites a witness who claims to have seen France’s wealthiest woman hand bank notes to Mr Sarkozy. Excerpts were published by Liberation newspaper.

Liliane Bettencourt

“Liliane Bettencourt’s nurse told my stenographer, after being questioned by me: ‘I saw cash payments to Sarkozy, but I couldn’t say it in my statement’,” Miss Desprez is quoted as saying. She adds that she was “struck by the fear of witnesses” when it came to mentioning the French president under oath.

Mr Sarkozy’s office categorically denied the claims, calling them “scandalous, unfounded and untruthful.”

Jean-Francois Copé, head of Mr Sarkozy’s UMP party, suggested that the timing of the claims was suspicious, given that the presidential election is only a few months away.

François Hollande, the Socialist presidential front-runner said he was “cautious” about the claims.

But he said: “This book reveals that there appears to be within the Elysée a cell right by the president which, together with the police and judiciary, exerts pressure so that some scandals come to light and others stifled.”

The Bettencourt affair first surfaced late 2007, when the 88-year-old billionaire’s daughter, Francoise Meyers-Bettencourt, sued photographer Francois-Marie Banier, a friend of the heiress, asserting that he had bamboozled her mother out of almost a billion euros in life insurance, cash and artworks.

The subsequent investigation soon mushroomed into a wider political scandal, involving allegations of influence-peddling by then budget minister and former party secretary Eric Woerth and illegal financing of Mr Sarkozy’s party.

French law limits donations to political parties to 7,500 euros (£6,650) per person per year. Only 150 euros (£133) may be given in cash.

Miss Desproz was taken off the case last November due to her acrimonious relationship with Philippe Courroye, the prosecutor of Nanterre, widely seen as being very close to Mr Sarkozy.

She was unable to investigate the nurse’s claims as her investigation was limited to the mother-daughter feud. But she told the book’s authors she was convinced Mr Sarkozy sought to eliminate her for fear of the cash allegations coming to court.

The judge could face disciplinary action for violation of a witness’s privacy and failing in her “duty of reserve”.

Mr Sarkozy’s name has featured in previous allegations of illegal party funding concerning Mrs Bettencourt, but never as direct recipient.

Three Bordeaux judges are continuing their investigations into several aspects of the Bettencourt case. They are investigating allegations Mr Woerth received cash payments and was guilty of a conflict of interest as his wife worked for Mrs Bettencourt’s wealth manager.

He and the government have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

The family feud in the Bettencourt case appeared to end in December 2010, when the mother and daughter reconciled, but in June, it flared up anew after Mrs Bettencourt Meyers once again sought legal wardship for her mother, saying she was surrounded by a predatory “circle.

Nicolas Sarkozy’s Scandals: a Guide

Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency has been continually tainted with the whiff of scandal and questions over his cosy relationships with some of France’s richest people.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/nicolas-sarkozy/8733475/Nicolas-Sarkozys-scandals-a-guide.htmlNicolas Sarkozy’s presidency has been continually tainted with the whiff of scandal and questions over his cosy relationships with some of France’s richest people

Nicolas Sarkozy

7:00AM BST 01 Sep 2011

Two alleged scandals – the Bettencourt and Tapie affairs – are under judicial investigation and touch on support given to President Sarkozy during his successful 2007 election campaign.
Bettencourt
Last year, an accountant for France’s richest woman, Liliane Bettencourt made made allegations that the L’Oreal heiress had given an illegal cash donation to Mr Sarkozy’s presidential campaign in 2007.
It is alleged that staff acting for Mrs Bettencourt gave an envelope stuffed with €150,000 (£132,000) in cash to Eric Woerth, the finance director of Sarkozy’s campaign formerly France’s employment minister.
If proved, the donation would be illegal because it is well over a £4,000 limit on individual donations to presidential campaigans.

Liliane Bettencourt

The Bettencourt investigations continues amid the latest allegations on Wednesday of a new witness to the donation seven months before President Sarkozy faces a re-election battle. Mr Sarkozy, his campaign and Mr Woerth deny any wrongdoing. Investigation is ongoing. Tapie Christine Lagarde, who took over the IMF after the Dominique Strauss-Kahn sex scaqndal, is being investigated by French courts for allegedly authorising a £270 million payout to a prominent President Sarkozy supporter when she was finance minister. The Court of Justice of the Republic, a special tribunal qualified to judge the conduct of France’s government ministers while in office, said that the she may have abused her position as finance minister in France to help Bernard Tapie, a controversial businessman. Ms Lagarde is accused of improperly intervening to decide a protrated dispute between Mr Tapiet, a convicted football match fixer and tax dodger who supported Mr Sarkozy’s governing UMP party. An investigation is ongoing. Ms Lagarde denies any wrongdoing. Karachigate President Sarkozy has also been dogged by an ongoing investigation into kickbacks that were paid on the €800 million (£707m) sale of three French Agosta 90B submarines to Pakistan in 1994. There are suspicions that €80 million in “commissions” legally paid to senior Pakistanis were recycled back to France and the failed presidential campaign fund of Edouard Balladur, the then French Prime Minister. Mr Sarkozy, then the budget minister, was the Balladur campaign spokesman. When Jacques Chirac became President in May 1995, it is alleged that he cancelled remaining Pakistani “commissions” to punish Mr Balladur for his rivalry. The cancellation of the payments have been linked by some to a bomb attack on a bus in Karachi in May 2002 in which 11 French engineers and four Pakistanis died. An investigation continues. All parties deny any wrongdoing. Clearstream Last year, Dominique de Villepin, the former French prime minister, was cleared after the “trial of the century” of being part of a conspiracy to smear Mr Sarkozy and sabotage his campaign to become president in 2007. Mr Villepin, who became prime minister in 2005 after stints as foreign and interior minister, had been accused of using faked documents to link Mr Sarkozy to the Clearstream corruption probe as the two competed to succeed the ageing Chirac. Perks In 2010, President Sarkozy was forced to order members of his government to “vigorously reduce” their spending after a string of scandals claimed political scalps and mired his administration in allegations of profligacy. His development minister resigned in the aftermath of outrage that he spent €116,500 (£96,000) on a private jet to take him to Martinique for a conference. He was joined by the minister for the Paris regional economy who stepped down after it emerged he spent €12,000 (£9,759) of taxpayers’ money on Havana cigars.

France Lost Principles & Honor in Libya

The former French Interior Intelligence chief (DCRI: Central Directorate of Interior Intelligence), Yves Bonny, said to (elKhabar) an Algerian newspaper (http://www.elkhabar.com/ar/monde/265340.htmlArabic text) on Saturday that France has lost its principles and honor and credibility in Libya.

Yves Bonny former DCRI chief

Bonnie Said: “France may have won the money, and this is not happening yet, but I am afraid that France has lost its principles and honor and credibility, and commitment to Africa. Nothing explains allow France to abandon its democratic principles which it had built .. give up our principles is dangerous” .

“The French newspapers are talking day and night about the huge funds received by France and the oil contracts, contracts that they are about 150 billion euros. I wonder what is the price of these contracts for the reconstruction of Libya …”

Bonnie stressed on the lofty principles that he believes in the West, and France in particular, such as democracy, freedom and legality, underwent the process of the overthrow of Qadhafi’s “equation of the strongest,” regardless of the principles and values, which he said had not been respected.

Bonnie pointed out that the new Libyan authority is lacking sovereignty and legitimacy, and that the new rulers of Libya are self-appointed and endorsed by the French President and  French journalist and writer Bernard-Henri Levy.

He said they “.. went out to the public after a meeting with President Sarkozy, they became masters of the new Libya, they are not sensitive, neither in form or in content.”

Sarkozy with Libya NTC

“For those who win a war it leads them to the rule, but they (NTC) did not do war, but other people did, even the legitimacy of rule by winning the war is not there.”

He attributed the involvement of NATO’s nations in the war because they do not realize what is happening in Libya and the reality of the situation, where they are missing real appreciation of things and said, “They raise a snake and the day will come to suffer its bite, and France will be the first to get it, although I do not hope this shall happens. ”

He stressed that the fall of the Muammar Gaddafi in this way and the rise of the radical Islamic ideology to power in Libya will have an impact on the map of security in the region because the new rulers in Libya are unlikely to have the same level of cooperation that was provided by the Gaddafi and the same seriousness regarding the fight against al Qaeda.