This is an unprecedented event: for the first time in French judicial history, a former president is indicted by “Association of criminals & rdquor;. The accused is none other than Nicolas sarzozy, also accused of “passive corruption & rdquor ;,” receipt of embezzled public funds & rdquor; and “Irregular Electoral Campaign Financing & rdquor ;. The judicial investigation focuses on the alleged receipt of funds from the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi to finance his 2007 campaign, the same one that opened the doors of the Elysee Palace.
The decision, decreed by the investigating magistrates of the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) Aude Buresi and Marc Sommerer, after four days of interrogations, is a real hit for the former president. The judges believe that there is sufficient evidence to charge Sarkozy for “Association of criminals & rdquor;, that is, for being part of “a group or an agreement established with a view to preparing […] of one or more crimes or of one or more crimes punishable by at least five years in prison & rdquor ;, as established by the French Penal Code.
In the framework of the same investigation, the French justice has also charged two of its former ministers, Claude Guéant and Éric Woerth [actual presidente del Comité de Finanzas de la Asamblea Nacional], essential pieces of the 2007 presidential campaign: the first served as campaign manager and the second as his treasurer.
“Injustice will not win”
This Friday, October 16, after his new accusation was made public, Nicolas Sarkozy denounced through a statement “the long list of injustices committed throughout the so-called ‘Libyan financing’ affair of his 2007 election campaign. & Rdquor ;. “The French need to know that I am innocent. Injustice will not win & rdquor ;, the former president defended himself.
“Amazed & rdquor; by the court decision, Sarkozy assured that his “Innocence has been mocked again & rdquor;: “I learned of this new accusation with real amazement […] The decision [judicial] does not provide the slightest proof of an illicit financing & rdquor ;, settled through a message posted on Facebook.
The French justice began to investigate the alleged illicit financing in 2012, after the publication of a document by the investigative newspaper Mediapart, a presumed proof of Libyan contribution to Sarkozy’s victorious campaign. Since then, in seven years of investigations, the investigating magistrates have gathered multiple clues – testimonies from Libyan dignitaries, notes from the secret services of Tripoli, accusations of an intermediary and movements of funds – that support the thesis of economic support from Muammar Gaddafi to the campaign of the former president.
Multiple open causes
Nicolas Sarkozy has repeatedly denounced a “plot & rdquor; Against him, however, this affair is not the only one that overshadows the figure of the former French president. On November 23, he will be tried for an accusation of corruption in the so-called case of the “wiretapping & rdquor; – it is suspected that together with his lawyer Thierry Herzog, he tried to obtain information through a magistrate about another investigation that was investigating whether Liliane Bettencourt, heir to the L’Oréal cosmetic empire, illegally financed his 2012 campaign.
So that, his 2012 campaign is not without controversy either: On March 17, 2021, the trial aimed at establishing whether Sarkozy irregularly financed said campaign, a race to the Elysee that he lost to the socialist François Hollande.
In the coming months, the former president’s agenda will be marked by multiple and varied judicial appointments, alleging a simple “plot & rdquor; will not get rid of sit in the dock.