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France

Sarkozy-Bruni affair rumours ‘a conspiracy’, says president’s advisor

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-04-05

Rumours of infidelity within the Sarkozy couple, which spread like wildfire in foreign media last month, may have been the result of a conspiracy, the French president’s media advisor has claimed as prosecutors in Paris open a preliminary inquiry.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s media adviser, Pierre Charon, said Sunday in an interview with French website Rue 89 that rumours in early March of extra-marital affairs involving Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, could have been the result of “an organised conspiracy”.

The rumours, published on a blog hosted by France’s main Sunday newspaper, Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD), turned out to be unsubstantiated, leading to the resignation on March 25th of a senior executive at Newsweek, a service provider for JDD.fr, and another Newsweek employee accused of having published the blog post.

But, by then, the news had already been relayed by media in several countries, and attributed to the “respected French newspaper” JDD.

According to the foreign press, France was awash with talk of marital infidelity in the presidential couple; despite the fact that the country’s mainstream media had never given the story any credence.

‘Looking for a conspiracy’

The JDD has decided to press charges against “unknown persons”, a move French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur said was the result of pressure from the Elysée, France’s presidential palace.

Sarkozy’s media adviser welcomed the JDD’s decision to press charges, arguing that legal action was necessary “to instill fear in the opposing camp”.

Charon said an inquiry would help determine “whether there was some kind of conspiracy involving financial transactions”.

According to AFP news agency, a minister had earlier told reporters that the rumours may have been an attempt to "destabilise" Sarkozy.

The minister was quoted as saying: “The fact that these rumours have been relayed by the press in the UK, Germany and Switzerland could point to a conspiracy ahead of France’s presidency of the G20 in 2010. We will carry out an inquiry to establish where the rumours come from.”

An article published in Sunday’s edition of Le Monde, titled “the Elysée looking for a conspiracy”, said some people in Sarkozy’s entourage suspected Rachida Dati, a former justice minister who has since fallen out of favour with the president, of having fuelled the rumours.

Dati denied the allegations in a statement released on Sunday evening.

Le Monde also said French police and the Elysée’s own “hackers” had been scouring the Web to identify the sources of the rumours.

Date created : 2010-04-04

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