The French Court of Cassation finally endorsed the decision of the Paris Criminal Court to prosecute Nicolas Sarkozy, former French Head of State, for suspicion and punishment of influence, in a proceeding launched five years ago, said judicial sources on Wednesday.
The former president’s telephone was intercepted at the beginning of 2014 by Moammer el-Gaddafi in an investigation into alleged support from a late Libyan leader in his winning presidential campaign. From one of his intercepted telephone conversations, it turned out that one of the high-ranking judges of the jury, Gilbert Azibert, regularly informed the former head of state, Thierry Herzog, about the details of the investigation of the so-called Bettencourt case. In return, Sarkozy allegedly promised his judge to intervene for a Monaco appointment.
The Court of Cassation rejected the application of the former President’s lawyers on Tuesday filing an appeal against the order of 26 March 2018.
This is the first of the proceedings against Nicolas Sarkozy, which is going to court stage, and the first time in the history of the 5th Republic since 1958 is that a former President of the Republic should be prosecuted with suspicion of corruption. The lawsuit may take place in Paris in a few months.
The prosecutor’s office accuses all three actors of the case of being corrupt and influenced, the lawyer and the former judge are also suspected of violating office secrets.
In July 2014, Nicolas Sarkozy was detained and investigators wanted to know whether he was actually trying to get information through Azizbert and knowing illegally that the police were listening to his phone. The latter question arose because the former head of state, Paul Bismuth, kept a secret mobile phone and talked to his lawyer about the delicate affairs.
The interceptions were made between 28 January and 11 February 2014.
The telephone conversations published in March 2014 revealed that Sarkozy and his lawyer are talking about police cases in which the former head of state is involved. There were six such proceedings before the Public Prosecutor’s Office. On this basis, the procedure started with suspicion of being influenced by Nicolas Sarkozy.
Azibert did not receive the promised post in Monaco after Nicolas Sarkozy said he had changed his mind at the last minute and did not attend to the judge. The investigators assumed that the former head of state was back because he and his lawyer had learned that their secret mobile phones were being intercepted by the police.
The conversations are mainly about the Bettencourt case, in which it was suspected that the former president had abused the deceased Liliane Bettencourt, the wealthiest health and psychic condition of the richest woman in Europe, the heir of the L’Oréal cosmetics company, and persuaded her to illegally support his presidential campaign in 2007. Sarkozy was also listened to, accused of being accused, and then dropped in the absence of evidence.
Moammer Gaddafi’s alleged support from a late Libyan leader one year ago in March 2018 against Sarkozy with passive corruption, illegal campaign finance, and Libyan public money
Nicolas Sarkozy was President of France between 2007 and 2012, and at the end of 2016 he completely retired from political life.
Previously, he was charged with another campaign finance case. He or she has to go to court with 13 other people for the illegitimate financing of the 2012 presidential campaign because he and his party have spent more than the permitted amount, but the date of the trial has not yet been determined. The investigation started in March 2014, after Jérome Lavrilleux, deputy head of the former head of state campaign admitted after a press release, that the party had attempted to cover the overpayment of Nicolas Sarkozy’s campaign with the false accounts of Bygmalion, the organizing company, and double bookkeeping. In 2016, a case against the former president, who was withdrawn from political life in 2016 following the defeat of the right-wing candidate for the post of head of state, was launched.