Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Requiem for a recorder

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

"The pen is mightier than the sword"

Read more

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Russia targets McDonald's over tensions with West

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola: Liberian authorities admit 17 patients are missing

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'New York Post' slammed for publishing Foley execution images

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza conflict: 72-hour ceasefire deal sets stage for Cairo talks

Read more

  • US forces tried to rescue slain reporter from IS captors

    Read more

  • Israeli air strike kills three top Hamas commanders

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • Former Femen activist detained after fighting veiled woman

    Read more

  • Former Irish PM Albert Reynolds dies at 81

    Read more

  • Tensions high in Yemen as Shiite rebel deadline looms

    Read more

  • Thailand coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha voted prime minister

    Read more

  • Deadly street battles hit Ukrainian rebel stronghold

    Read more

  • US attorney general visits Missouri town after fatal shooting

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Brazil’s Silva launches bid after Campos plane crash death

    Read more

  • Netanyahu compares Hamas to IS, Gaza offensive to continue

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • France’s ex-PM Juppé sets up presidential clash with Sarkozy

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande says global security ‘worst since 2001’

    Read more

France

Tapes reveal presidential aide spied on Sarkozy

© AFP | File pictures of Nicolas Sarkozy and Patrick Buisson

Video by Mark THOMPSON

Text by Thomas HUBERT

Latest update : 2014-03-06

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is reportedly “furious” after embarrassing secret recordings made by a close aide during his term in office were leaked to the press.

The weekly newspaper “Le Canard Enchaîné” and the news website “Atlantico” on Wednesday March 5, 2014 published extracts from the “hundreds of hours” of secret audio recordings made by Patrick Buisson during Sarkozy’s presidential term between 2007 and 2012.

One conversation between the president and his closest advisors focuses on the 2011 cabinet reshuffle, in which Defence Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie was fired because of her closeness to the recently deposed Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. “I accepted a resignation letter from her, but nobody will buy that,” Sarkozy says.

The president considers replacing her with Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux, but abandons the idea because he is at the time under investigation for racist remarks: “What if the defence minister was convicted of racist slur?” they speculate.

Presidential chief of staff Claude Guéant becomes interior minister in the reshuffle. In another recording, Buisson expresses concern at his departure from the Élysée Palace at a time when Sarkozy was facing a corruption investigation: “The good thing about Guéant is that he had developed some knowledge of the issues [Editors note: referring to the investigation] in the past three months, especially the cases before the prosecutors’ office. He was getting involved.”

Buisson and Sarkozy are under investigation for allegedly buying a series of opinion polls from friend’s companies with taxpayers’ money in violation of government procurement regulations.

Sarkozy “furious”

The tapes lay bare the backroom manoeuvring and cynical comments targeting dozens of people in power circles, from first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, who said her income made poorly-paid Sarkozy “a kept man”, to government ministers – many of whom presidential aides caught on the recordings described as “morons”.

One of them, former Education Minister Xavier Darcos, told the “Canard Enchaîné”: “When you see the results achieved by those backroom advisors, there is pride in doing without their praise.”

The newspaper reported that Sarkozy was “furious” but refused to comment any further.
Buisson’s lawyer confirmed on Tuesday that the tapes were authentic and intended for note-taking purposes.

Their publication have prompted angry reactions from the ranks of Sarkozy’s UMP party, already hit by a series of scandals less than three weeks before municipal elections.
Media reports alleged last week that party chairman Jean-François Copé allowed companies owned by his friends to overcharge the UMP during the 2012 electoral campaign, which he has denied.

Buisson trained as a historian and started his career as a journalist for the far-right newspaper “Minute”. He describes himself as a “monarchist” in one of the tapes and is widely seen as the mastermind of Sarkozy’s staunchly conservative 2012 presidential campaign.

Date created : 2014-03-05

  • France

    French opposition leader embroiled in scandal

    Read more

  • MEDIAWATCH

    French politician confiscates TV camera

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Is a new Tea Party brewing in France?

    Read more

COMMENT(S)