Sarkozy to Appear in Court for Bribery

Published: 20 June 2019

(Nicolas Sarkozy: MEDEF)(Nicolas Sarkozy: MEDEF)

By Annie Todd

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy lost an appeal to avoid standing trial for an investigation into his 2007 presidential campaign, his lawyer told Reuters on Wednesday.

The Cour de Cassation ruled Sarkozy must stand trial in the coming months for allegations that he tried to give Gilbert Azibert, a judge, a cushy Monaco job in return for information about an ongoing investigation.

Sarkozy was being wiretapped because of suspicious that Muammar Gadhafi, the former Libyan leader who died in 2011, had financed his 2007 campaign.

But while listening to conversations between Sarkozy and his lawyer, investigators suddenly heard that L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt donated thousands of euros to Sarkozy’s campaign even though French law states that campaign donations must be capped at 4,600 euros a year.

That case was dropped in 2013 but Sarkozy will have to explain the Gadhafi issue and the Monaco job promise to the judge to the court.

If found guilty and convicted, the former president could spend up to 10 years in a French prison.

Azibert and Sarkozy’s former lawyer, Thierry Herzog, will also stand trial in the coming months with charges relating to the case.

The defense is arguing that the wiretapping is a breach of attorney-client privilege and lasted from 2012 to 2014, according to Reuters. Sarkozy’s lawyers say that the lengthy wiretapping investigation is a violation of a previous ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.

“These legal issues are still relevant,” Sarkozy lawyer Jacqueline Laffont told Reuters. “It will be for the court to decide whether a French court can override a decision of the European Court of Human Rights.”