This Monday, November 23 opens at the Paris Criminal Court the trial of the so-called “eavesdropping” case, during which the former President of the Republic will be tried. But Nicolas Sarkozy’s legal setbacks are not limited to this single trial.
Judged from this Monday, November 23 for “corruption” and “influence peddling” in the so-called “eavesdropping” affair, next year for his excessive spending for the 2012 campaign and also prosecuted for the alleged Libyan financing of his 2007 campaign: ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy saw his political retirement under judicial pressure. While he will be well tried in two of these cases, he was dismissed in several others. Update on each of them.
The “eavesdropping” case, trial from 23 November to 10 December
In this case also nicknamed “Paul Bismuth”, Nicolas Sarkozy is suspected of having tried, with his lawyer Thierry Herzog, to obtain from a high magistrate, Gilbert Azibert, information covered by secrecy in legal proceedings. After the rejection of several appeals, the Court of Cassation definitively validated in June 2019 the dismissal of the three men for correctional purposes. Their trial will therefore be held from November 23 to December 10.
Nicolas Sarkozy was indicted in July 2014 in this case. In March 2016, the Court of Cassation had validated the use, disputed, of wiretapping between his lawyer and him. The investigating judges had ordered in March 2018 that the three men be tried in Paris for “corruption and influence peddling”.
Magistrates from the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) have for their part been targeted since September 18, 2020 by an administrative investigation, concerning in particular the examination of the detailed telephone bills of tenors of the bar, when they had sought, in vain, a possible ” mole “having warned Nicolas Sarkozy that he was tapped.
The Bygmalion case, trial from March 17 to April 15, 2021
This case is also known as the “2012 campaign accounts”. Nicolas Sarkozy was indicted in February 2016 for “illegal campaign financing”, that of the 2012 presidential election. He is not blamed for the system of false invoices at the heart of the fraud. Examining magistrate Serge Tournaire on February 3, 2017 ordered the referral to correctional purposes of fourteen protagonists of the case, including Nicolas Sarkozy for exceeding the campaign spending ceiling.
Renaud Van Ruymbeke, the other magistrate in charge of the investigation, having refrained from signing the order, a procedural battle had to be decided on appeal in October 2018, then in cassation a year later after the rejection of a appeal by the Constitutional Council in May 2019. The trial is scheduled to take place from March 17 to April 15, 2021 in Paris.
The Libyan financing case
Since April 2013, judges have been investigating accusations of financing by Libya of Nicolas Sarkozy’s victorious presidential campaign in 2007, made by former Libyan dignitaries as well as the intermediary Ziad Takieddine. On November 11, the latter, to everyone’s surprise, withdrew his charges. The PNF, however, replied that the charges against the former president “are not limited to statements” by the businessman.
In this case, Nicolas Sarkozy was indicted on March 21, 2018 for “passive corruption, illegal financing of the electoral campaign and concealment of Libyan public funds”, then on October 12, 2020 for “criminal association”. The former secretary general of the Elysée Claude Guéant and the former treasurer of the campaign, Eric Woerth, have also been.
Cases in which he is exonerated
The former president was dismissed in several cases: his private jet trips billed to the company Lov Group of his friend Stéphane Courbit; its penalties settled by the UMP for exceeding campaign expenses in 2012 or the case of donations granted to the UMP by the wealthy heiress of the L’Oréal group Liliane Bettencourt (deceased in 2017).
In the case of overcharged surveys ordered by the Elysee, Claude Guéant and ex-relatives of Nicolas Sarkozy must be tried in correctional, the former head of state being covered by his presidential immunity. The dates of the trial in Paris remain to be determined.