French ex-leader Nicolas Sarkozy charged with corruption for influencing judicial proceedings

Sarkozy was detained in connection with an attempt to illegally influence judicial proceedings he is implicated in.

By: Press Trust of India | Paris | Published:July 2, 2014 12:56 pm
The detention of Sarkozy, a right-winger who led France from 2007 to 2012, comes a day after investigators took his longtime lawyer Thierry Herzog and two magistrates into custody. The detention of Sarkozy, a right-winger who led France from 2007 to 2012, comes a day after investigators took his longtime lawyer Thierry Herzog and two magistrates into custody.

France’s former president Nicolas Sarkozy has been charged with corruption and influence peddling, French prosecutors said on Wednesday, a dramatic move in a criminal probe that could wreck his hopes of a political comeback.

The decision came after Sarkozy was questioned for 15 hours, marking the first time a French ex-head of state had been taken into custody in a criminal investigation.

The right-wing leader had been detained at a police station in a Paris suburb in connection with a suspected attempt to illegally influence judicial proceedings in one of a raft of colourful corruption cases he is implicated in. Sarkozy turned up at the station in Nanterre in a black saloon car with tinted windows at 8:00 am (0600 GMT).

After the lengthy questioning, the former president was taken in the early hours of Wednesday to appear before a judge, where he was charged with corruption and influence peddling, the prosecution said in a statement to AFP.

If convicted of those charges, he could face a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. Sarkozy’s longtime lawyer Thierry Herzog and a
magistrate, Gilbert Azibert – taken into custody a day earlier alongside another magistrate – were both charged with influence peddling in a late night court appearance, their respective lawyers said.

Investigators suspect Sarkozy attempted to obtain inside information from one of the magistrates about confidential proceedings in an illegal election financing case, and that he was tipped off by a senior figure when judges tapped his phones.

Sarkozy, 59, has faced virtually non-stop legal battles since he left office following his defeat by Socialist candidate Francois Hollande in the 2012 presidential vote. He had been expected to attempt a political comeback in time for the next presidential poll in 2017, but those plans could be torpedoed after being charged in this case.

He vehemently denies any wrongdoing, and his allies on the right of the political spectrum denounced what they see as a witch-hunt against their man. “Never before has a former president been subjected to such treatment, such an unleashing of hate,” said Christian¬†Estrosi, the mayor of Nice and an MP for Sarkozy’s UMP party.

Government spokesman Stephane Le Foll insisted the judges in the case had acted of their own accord. “The justice system is investigating and will follow this through to the end. Nicolas Sarkozy can face justice just like anyone else,” Le Foll said.

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  1. K
    Kolsat
    Jul 3, 2014 at 7:29 am
    I doubt it if such action will ever be taken against a former State or Central highranking politician in India. We are not this mature. In all western countries the law is higher than the individual. We are still interested in individual worship like we are seeing in Congress today.
    Reply
  2. J
    jan smiths
    Jul 2, 2014 at 9:02 pm
    the curse of his awful wife.sad...
    Reply
  3. C
    Citizen
    Jul 2, 2014 at 12:49 pm
    Are we ever going to get this sort of governance in the nation?????? Even after monumental SCAMS no one has completed their punishment and still they are enjoying the looted money. Once if we get this sort of rule every citizen would be happy and there is the " golden age " for the country. Jaihind
    Reply