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Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-04-26

Known for his luxury tastes, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni spent an estimated $41,674 in gifts to US President Barack Obama and his family during 2011, including Hermès bags, crystal statuettes and Dior bathrobes.

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s bling-bling ways have made it back into the news, after a US State Department report revealed that he and his supermodel-singer-actress wife Carla Bruni lavished US President Barack Obama and his family with an estimated $41,674 in gifts during 2011 alone.

The report, which was published on Thursday, details all gifts given to US federal employees from foreign government sources during the 2011 calendar year, including the precise date they were received and their estimated value. The list is required under US law.

At 231 pages long, Sarkozy and Bruni’s names appear with surprising regularity. In early 2011, the couple gave Obama a “large black Hermès golf accessory bag,” at an estimated value of $7,750. A few months later, Sarkozy showered the US president with a “classic” white polo shirt, a limited edition Dupont fountain pen and lighter, a bottle of Christian Drouin Pays d’Auge cidre, another Dupont fountain pen, six black glass goblets and a glass sculpture worth a whopping total of almost $15,084.

Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Dior… Oh la la!

And the gifts didn’t stop there. Known for his luxury tastes, Sarkozy also dished out a crystal statuette of a golfer by prestigious crystal manufacturer Baccarat, another Hermès golf bag, a Louis Vuitton black leather “Neo Igor” men’s business satchel (Obama’s unfortunate initials, B.O, were embossed on the tag), a handmade Forge de Laguiole letter opener, his and hers white, belted Dior bathrobes, chocolates and numerous other extravagant presents.

All said and done, Sarkozy and Bruni racked up an estimated bill of $41,674 (or around 32,000 euros) in gifts to the First Family. But to be fair, the former French leader was not alone. Other world leaders, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, also splurged on luxurious golf-themed gifts, and Qatar’s ambassador took first place for top spender, after he and his wife offered the Obamas two diamond encrusted watches with a value of at least $37,000.

Unfortunately for the Obama family, not all of the gifts listed in the report are theirs for the keeping. The vast majority are placed in the National Archives, and may eventually be put on display in a presidential library.

Date created : 2013-04-26


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