Sarkozy’s next move: Is he off to London?

Sarkozy's next move: Is he off to London?
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, speaking at the 2011 World Economic Forum in Davos. Photo: World Economic Forum
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has made plans to start a €1 billion investment fund in London, a French news site claimed on Monday. Aides close to the ex-President have denied the report however, calling it "absurd".

Ex-French President Nicolas Sarkozy with the help of his advisor Alain Minc, has been engaged in "secret preparations" to raise €1 billion for a new fund that he intends to manage from London, the investigative French website Mediapart reported on Monday.

Citing various unnamed sources in the business world, Mediapart claims the former head of state has been in contact with various investors and financial institutions to try and raise the princely sum.

The project is still in its infancy according to the website, which has built a reputation in France for uncovering political scandals, with Sarkozy not quite ready to take the plunge.

Sarkozy, who was ousted by François Hollande in last May's presidential elections, is currently on the global lecture circuit but has been touted for a return to politics with his UMP party in turmoil after the bitter leadership battle between Francois Fillon and Jean-Francois Copé.

If the idea that the former president would up sticks and move to London seems fanciful, his advisors would agree.

"This claim is just pure fantasy," one of his aides told French daily Le Figaro.

Minc, who is also a prominent French businessman, vehemently denied his involvement in any such project and is quoted in Le Figaro as saying, "Nicolas Sarkozy doesn't need my help to meet the world's biggest investors – he has thousands of contacts."

"It's absurd to think that [Sarkozy] could just move to London and stop paying taxes in France," he added.

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