Published: 10 Oct 2012 14:55 GMT+02:00 | Print version
Updated: 10 Oct 2012 14:55 GMT+02:00
Nicolas Sarkozy's post-presidential legal woes deepened Wednesday when French anti-graft campaigners said they lodged a complaint against him for allegedly misusing public funds to pay for opinion polls.
The right-winger, ousted this year by Socialist Francois Hollande, lost his presidential immunity from prosecution in June and is now faced with a slew of legal probes into corruption and campaign financing violations.
The latest blow came from anti-corruption group Anticor whose complaint was made against persons unknown but clearly targets Sarkozy and the firms that carried out the opinion polls, Anticor's lawyer Jerome Karsenti said.
The complaint lodged with legal authorities states that some of the polls ordered were "of private interest to Mr Sarkozy" and therefore represented a misuse of public funds. It concerns a contract worth three million euros ($3.9 million) awarded by Sarkozy's office to Publifact, a firm owned by the then-president's advisor Patrick Buisson, for polls and advice.
It also focuses on a contract with Buisson's son Georges Buisson's polling firm, and another between Sarkozy's office and a firm run by another presidential advisor.
Anticor first lodged a complaint against Sarkozy in 2010 but it was blocked because the politician was protected by his presidential immunity.
Hollande's government spokesman said Wednesday that the current administration did not and would not order private opinion polls.
Sarkozy has stayed mostly out of the limelight since losing the presidential election in May, although supporters say he could make a return to politics one day.
In July, police searched his offices and his home as part of their probe into suspected illegal financing of his successful 2007 presidential election campaign.
The French government is planning a controversial change in the law to allow more university courses to be taught entirely in English, in a bid to attract foreign students. Author Frederic Werst, one of a group of writers against the project tells The Local why the idea is "deluded". READ () »
A highly contentious proposal to allow more courses at French universities to be taught in English will be discussed in the French parliament today as the minister behind the plan slams the “hypocrisy” of those opposing it. READ () »
French prosecutors investigating corruption are set to decide this week whether to charge IMF chief Christine Lagarde over her handling of a row that resulted in a €400 million payout being paid to disgraced businessman Bernard Tapie. READ () »
Notre Dame cathedral in the heart of Paris had to be evacuated on Tuesday when 78-year-old writer and far-right figure Dominique Venner, a firm opponent of gay marriage, shot himself in the head by the church's altar. READ () »
High ranking ministers in the French government can expect a grilling in the coming days as an investigation into a tax fraud scandal got underway on Tuesday. The probe was set up after the former budget minister admitted having a secret bank account. READ () »
Hopes that France's long, hard winter would be followed by a warm, sunny spring have been well and truly washed out after a weekend of heavy rain and storms. The country's weather agency saying more bad weather is on the way. READ () »
The French Interior Minister reassured the public on Tuesday that a global operation involving French and international police was underway to track down fugitive Redoine Faid, who remains at large after blasting his way out of prison in April. READ () »
VIDEO: French police have charged a minibus driver carrying a group of Marseille football supporters who were involved in a mass brawl with fans of fierce rivals Lyon at a motorway toll plaza in the south of France at the weekend. READ () »
Hundreds of French Facebook users bared all this week in a protest against the social media site’s strict censorship of nude photos. But the “Day of Nude” protest was cut short early when Facebook's photo police took swift action. READ () »
The French government may still be celebrating the victory of seeing its divisive gay marriage bill finally signed into law but the battle over the issue of same-sex unions in France now looks set to move from a national to a local level. READ () »