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France

Sarkozy in plot against ‘bastard’ judges, report says

© AFP

Video by Marc PERELMAN

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-03-19

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy allegedly undermined judges’ efforts to investigate him by peddling his influence and using informants within the justice system, according to new leaks of recorded telephone conversations.

Investigative news website Mediapart published Tuesday what it said were extracts from wire-tapped conversations between Sarkozy and his lawyer, who at one point refers to two top judges in the city of Bordeaux as "bastards".

Mediapart said Gilbert Azibert, a judge in the court of appeals that was handling the high-profile Bettencourt case, regularly tipped off Sarkozy about its progress.

The leaks also reveal that Sarkozy appeared to have a well-placed mole in a senior position giving him insider information about a probe into alleged campaign contributions in 2007 by former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The mole was asked by Sarkozy’s lawyer to find out when the former president’s office would be searched by police in relation to the Gaddafi case.

“The wire taps reveal a real conspiracy against the justice system and its institutions,” Fabrice Arfi, who wrote the Mediapart report, told FRANCE 24 on Wednesday.

Arfi said that since Nicolas Sarkozy left office in 2012, the ex-president had established a “kind of covert cabinet at the heart of government institutions” whose members were charged with illegally leaking critical information.

The potentially embarrassing report comes just four days ahead of nationwide municipal elections in which both Sarkozy's UMP party and the ruling Socialist Party are tipped to suffer heavy losses.

Mediapart said it got hold of the transcripts of seven phone conversations tapped by judges between January 28 and February 11.

The French media revealed last week that judges started tapping Sarkozy’s phone last year after opening a formal investigation into allegations he accepted 50 million euros in cash from Gaddafi.

Police tapped Sarkozy’s official phone line, as well as a second phone line he had opened under the alias of Paul Bismuth.

Date created : 2014-03-19

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