Spectacular about-face: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy in the sights of justice

Spectacular about-face: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy in the sights of justice
Spectacular about-face: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy in the sights of justice

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, wife of former French head of state Nicolas Sarkozy, is being questioned on Thursday as a suspect in part of the sprawling investigation into the Libyan financing of her husband’s presidential campaign in 2007.

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is questioned on Thursday as a suspect.

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The 56-year-old singer and former top model must explain her possible role in the spectacular about-face of the Franco-Lebanese intermediary Ziad Takieddine who, at the end of 2020, suddenly and temporarily cleared Nicolas Sarkozy after having been his main accuser in the so-called Libyan funds file.

Justice suspects several people in the former president’s entourage (2007-2012) of having orchestrated this retraction with the aim of influencing the course of the investigations. Nicolas Sarkozy, who disputes the facts, was himself indicted at the beginning of October in this aspect, for concealment of witness tampering and criminal association with a view to preparing trial fraud by an organized gang.

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, who married Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008, was heard as a simple witness in June 2023 in this investigation but certain elements led the judge in charge of the investigations to consider her as a suspect.

According to a Source close to the case, the magistrate wonders in particular about the possible “desire to conceal” by Carla Bruni-Sarkozy of exchanges with the popess of the celebrity press “Mimi” Marchand, also charged in this case.

According to this Source, the model would have deleted all of the messages exchanged with Ms. Marchand on the day of the latter’s indictment, June 5, 2021.

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy would then have helped Michèle Marchand and the paparazzo Sébastien Valiela to obtain a PCR test in mid-October 2020 allowing them to go to Lebanon to do the interview which will give rise to Mr. Takieddine’s retraction. Ms. Bruni-Sarkozy was interviewed on Thursday by investigators from the central anti-corruption office (OCLCIFF) near Paris.

In this case, there are now eleven protagonists, including Ms. Bruni-Sarkozy, who are suspected of having participated, at varying times and degrees, in this operation.

Questioned during his indictment at the beginning of October, Nicolas Sarkozy exonerated his wife. “My wife has nothing to do with it,” he declared.

Trial in 2025

This “retraction” component is incidental to the main investigation into suspicions of Libyan financing of Nicolas Sarkozy’s victorious presidential campaign in 2007.

After ten years of investigation, Mr. Sarkozy was put on trial in this case alongside twelve other defendants suspected of having received or transferred funds paid by the regime of the former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

The former head of state, who disputes the facts, must be tried in early 2025, notably for “concealment of embezzlement of public funds”, “passive corruption” and “illegal financing of an electoral campaign”.

Main accuser of Mr. Sarkozy and refugee in Lebanon to escape incarceration in France, Ziad Takieddine made an about-face at the end of 2020 by declaring in two media that the ex-president had “not touched a cent, cash or not cash, for the presidential election” of 2007.

However, he returned to his remarks two months later before the investigating magistrates.

Nicolas Sarkozy has already had trouble with the law several times. In February, he was sentenced on appeal to prison in the “Bygmalion” affair over excessive spending during his lost 2012 presidential campaign.

The former leader of the French right was also found guilty in May 2023 of corruption of a senior magistrate in the so-called wiretapping affair. He appealed to the Court of Cassation in these two cases.

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