France: Former French President Denies Corruption Charges

Nicolas Sarkozy is denying all charges of influence-peddling and benefiting from violations of professional secrecy, reports Reuters.

As OCCRP has reported, Sarkozy has been accused of promising a prestigious job in Monaco to Gilbert Aziert, a French magistrate, in return for information from him on a case in which Sarkozy is being investigated for receiving illegal campaign donations. Sarkozy’s attorney Thierry Herzog has also been implicated.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy

Sarkozy, detained for 15 hours on Tuesday, is the first former president to spend any time in police custody. Albert Iweins, Herzog’s attorney, told Reuters that Sarkozy “has gone through ordeals of this nature; he has always known how to fight.” Iweins further said the case is weak and relies heavily on the alleged phone reports Reuters.

Sarkozy agrees with officials of his Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party, who blame the charges on a corrupt French Judicial establishment out to ensure that the UMP does not regain power in the 2017 elections. As quoted by Reuters, Sarkozy said, “I say to all those who are listening or watching that I have never betrayed them and have never committed an act against the Republic’s principles and the rule of law...the situation is sufficiently serious to tell the French people where we stand on the political exploitation of part of the legal system today.”