French court rules Sarkozy wiretaps can be used as evidence

French court allows use of Sarkozy’s secret phone records in corruption case

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

A French court on Thursday ruled in favour of the usage of wiretapped phone conversations belonging to ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy and his lawyer in an ongoing corruption case.

Sarkozy, who stands accused of vote fraud and corruption, had his phone conversation with his lawyer wiretapped as part of an investigation into illegal money laundering from L’Oreal inheritor Liliane Bettencourt during his election campaign in 2007.

A member of Sarkozy’s legal team, Paul-Albert Iweins, said they have decided to appeal against the ruling, calling it a violation against the lawyer-client privilege.

"Contrary to our legitimate hopes, the court has not upheld our calls for dismissal (of the wiretaps)," said Iweins.

Sarkozy could face up to 10 years in prison or a five-year sentence along with a €500,000 fine in found guilty of “active corruption.”

Nicolas Sarkozy was the president of France from 2007 until 2012. After 2012, he became the head of the opposition Union for Popular Movement Party (UMP).

Bettencourt Case

Bettencourt became the centre of a political scandal in 2010 when her former accountant Claire Thibout explained that some French politicians visited Bettencourt’s house and received envelopes full of cash.

She claimed that the treasurer of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), Mr. de Maistre, received an envelope with €150,000 in March 2007 during Sarkozy’s presidential election campaign.

According to French laws, political donations should not be more than €4,600 for individuals or €7,500 for political parties, and donations more than €150 should be in cheque form with the clear identification of the donor.

After Thibout’s arguments, French police raided de Maistre’s home and office in 2010.

Later 2010, files containing information on Bettencourt were stolen from the offices of Le Monde and Le Point newspapers.

In 2013, Nicolas Sarkozy, former minister Eric Woerth and prosecutor Philippe Courroye were accused of diverse points in the affair in 2013.

Sarkozy was found not guilty, but the other two defendants were charged in the case.

TRTWorld and agencies