Sarkozy fights back in face of corruption charges

Tags: News
Former President Nicolas Sarkozy has accused the French justice system of trying to "destroy" him, after he was charged in a corruption probe.

The former conservative party leader fought back today in a broadcast interview after he was questioned over a highly publicised judicial investigation linked to allegations that he took $67 million in illegal campaign funds from Libya's Moammar Gadhafi.

The detention a very unusual move for such a high-level figure has dominated French news broadcasts, and comes as a possible political comeback by the hard-driving 59-year-old has been floated by his faltering UMP party.

Sarkozy, who spent nearly a day in custody yesterday answering questions on his 2007 presidential campaign, told TF1 TV and Europe-1 radio he was "profoundly shocked" over his 16-hour detention.

"Is it normal that I should be in custody for so long?" Sarkozy asked, squinting intensely at an interviewer. He said his detention was motivated out of "a desire to humiliate me."

"A part of the justice system is being used for political purposes," he said.

Sarkozy warned of an unspecified plot: "In our country... there are things that are in the process of being organised. The French need to know them, and in their conscience, and freely, need to judge what's happening."

Earlier, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the investigation was being carried out independently of the Socialist government. His boss, Socialist President Francois Hollande, defeated Sarkozy in the presidential race in 2012.

"This situation is serious. The facts are serious," Valls told BFM TV. "But as head of the government, I'm asking that we remember the independence of the justice system, which must carry out its work serenely. No one is above the law is the second principle. And thirdly, an important reminder, there is the presumption of innocence."

Sarkozy is accused of tapping political allies to gain intelligence on a flurry of probes linked to campaign finance. He has vigorously denied the claims, and insisted today that he has "never betrayed trust" of the French people.

His personal lawyer, Thierry Herzog, and magistrate Gilbert Azibert were also questioned.

"This is yet another thing to erode the image of the political class, because it gives the image of an all-powerful group that believes itself to be above the law," said Jean Garrigues, a political historian at the University of Orleans and the Sorbonne.

Post new comment

E-mail ID will not be published
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

EDITORIAL OF THE DAY

  • If the first 17 editions of Saarc were tragedies, Kathmandu was a sham

    Rarely has a regional grouping such as the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (Saarc) promised so much and delivered so little.

FC NEWSLETTER

Stay informed on our latest news!

INTERVIEWS

GV Nageswara Rao

MD & CEO, IDBI Federal Life

Timothy Moe

Goldman Sachs

Chander Mohan Sethi

CMD, Reckitt Benckiser India

COLUMNIST

Varun Dutt

By the power of wind, let there be light

In India, the development of wind power began in the ...

Zehra Naqvi

Being unrealistic can be good for you

Depression is a term that most people use very casually ...

INTERVIEWS

William D. Green

Chairman & CEO, Accenture