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Former French President,  Nicolas Sarkozy, has been taken into police custody on account of multiple charges.

PARIS-  After been taken into police custody for questioning during more than 15 hours, the former France’s president Nicolas Sarkozy (Union for a Popular Movement Party, 2007-2012) has been formally charged with corruption, influence peddling, abuse of power and concealing breaches of influence. If found guilty, he may experience up to 10 years of condemnation.

Claims involve the stablishment of an informants network inside the French Justice system. There is indication of the offer of a top-level job in Monaco to the magistrate Gilbert Azibert, in return for data regarding which legal accusations against Sarkozy were forward to court. Such accusations are said to be related to acceptance of campaign illegal donations from the former Lybian dictator Muammar Gadaffi and from Liliane Bettencourt, heiress of L’Oreal company.  Azibert and Sarkozy’s lawyer, Thierry Herzog, are also being prosecuted.

Evidences were obtained through the tapping of Sarkozy’s telephone. The polemic method added to the questioning measures Sarkozy was submitted to are  being highly criticized by his supporters, which attribute political reasons to the approach adopted towards the former president. Christian Estrosi, mayor of Nice and member of UMP party,  promptly alleged that “Never has a former president been subjected to such treatment, such an outburst of hatred”. François Hollande’s government’s spokesman, Stéphane Le Foll, refuted statements, saying that  “The justice system is investigating and will follow this through to the end. Nicolas Sarkozy can face justice just like anyone else”.

The synchrony between legal and political agendas – Sarkozy was recently claimed to lead  its party after the moral crisis provoked by illegal financing at campaigns – may represent a deep turnover to its political intentions on next elections.

Although that’s namely the first time a former French president is held in custody in order to provide legal clarifications, investigations towards a president and subsequent prosecutions are not  an inedit situation at French politics.  In 2011, former president Jacques Chirac (1995-2007) was found guilty of embezzling public funds during his mandate as mayor in Paris.

 

Image Courtesy: Stefan de Vries (https://www.flickr.com/photos/flashstef/488427513), Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic | Flickr

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