At the heart of the case is the case wiretapping for illegal Libyan financing of Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential campaign.
Former President Nicolas Sarkozy became the second president of France to appear in the Paris criminal court on Monday on charges of corruption and influence peddling. The previous one was Jacques Chirac for the fictitious jobs in the mayor of Paris. But it is the first time in the history of the Fifth Republic that a head of state appears for trial in the 32nd Chamber of the court of the French capital.
The trial of former President Nicolás Sarkozy for “corruption and influence peddling” in the “clandestine wiretapping” dossier began on Monday, November 23, early in the afternoon, before the Paris Criminal Court. I know postponed until Thursday because a medical visit was ordered to one of the protagonists of the trial.
In the heart is the case of wiretapping for illegal Libyan financing of Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential campaign.
The former head of state arrived at court around 1:20 in the afternoon, in front of a cloud of cameras, without making any statements. He is due to be tried until December 10 along with his lawyer, Thierry Herzog, and former high magistrate Gilbert Azibert, absent from the hearing for medical reasons. They are all his close friends. He requested that the trial be postponed.
They should be present on Monday, November 23, from the opening of their trial before the Paris Criminal Court. Gilbert Azibert, through whom everything happened, is reluctant, for medical reasons, to appear in this trial, which began with a recess until Thursday.
A trio founded on a flagship notion in Sarkozy’s country: friendship. Nicolás Sarkozy feels great affection for what he calls “his friend”, Thierry Herzog. The latter adores “his Nicolas”, whom he nicknames “The Sphinx. They took the oath of lawyers together, at the age of 21, and have never lost sight of himself. He was involved in all their legal struggles.
And then there is Gilbert Azibert, former secretary general of the Ministry of Justice, in the Rachida Dati period (2007-2009), then impelled to the Court of Cassation, as General Counsel, to the Civil Chamber. Azibert is a right-wing magistrate, one of whose great friends is none other than Thierry Herzog. The lawyer allowed him to meet Nicolás Sarkozy in person – even that a luncheon will be organized in the Paris office of the former head of state – and also to attend a concert by Carla Bruni-Sarkozy behind the scenes, thus constituting the trio, which will be tried for corruption.
On January 19, the judges prolonged the wiretaps on two Sarkozy phone lines. They discovered that there were two cell lines not declaredpowered by prepaid cards, which only Sarkozy and his lawyer, Thierry Herzog used to talk. They were bought under the name of Paul Bismuth, a former classmate of the lawyer, when they were boys in Tunisia, who today lives in Israel.
The lawyer Herzog justified the use of these private lines “by the need to escape the wild eavesdropping”, made by the Eliseo palace when Sarkozy left power. He warned that they had been using those phones since 2012.
The judges believe this to be a lie: they are persuaded that the cell lines were used after the judges placed official taps on their exchanges on the declared lines. In the conversations there are phrases from the protagonists: Sarkozy and Herzog, who speak of “judges who listen to us” and “those gentlemen who listen to us.”
The discovery of Paul Bismuth’s line gave the magistrates some surprises. Sarkozy and his lawyer repeatedly mention Gilbert, who is none other than Gilbert Azibert, a high magistrate of the Court of Cassation and a friend of Dr. Herzog, Sarkozy’s lawyer.
At that time, former President Sarkozy had escaped the thorny affair Betancourt, on financing his presidential campaign by the very wealthy owner of L’Oreal, now deceased, but had obtained a “no place” in court. But something worried him immensely: the judges of Bordeaux, where the trial had been shifted so that there was no influence or pressure on the justice in Paris, had hijacked his personal agendas from his tenure.
Sarkozy went to the Court of Cassation to have them returned. Magistrate Gilbert Azibert is suspected of having been the one who pierced the secrets of justice that affected him. In a conversation between Sarkozy and the lawyer, it was recorded that Magistrate Azibert confirmed two hyper-secret things: “that the rapporteur was in favor of canceling the capture of agendas and that requisitions would be as late as possible.”
The judges believe that Gilbert Azibert obtained this information from his fellow magistrates. The judges framed those moves as “corruption.”
In the conversations it was recorded that Gilbert Azibert mentions a position that he wishes in the Principality of Monaco. Sarkozy tells his lawyer to call him and tell him that “I’ll take care of it because I’m going to Monaco and I’ll see the prince.”
Sarkozy visited Monaco on February 23 and 28. But the judges noted that both men began to speak in codes along the lines of Paul Bismuth “because she was discovered.”