Former French President Nicholas Sarkozy, along with his wife Carla Bruni, are all set to sue their former aide over secret tapes that were made while he was in office . The aide in question is Patrick Buisson. This incident is not the only mishap that is affecting the former president. Along with this scandal are news reports that there was a court-ordered wiretapping over the past year while he has been in the opposition. While the secret recordings of his former aide leave Sarkozy’s reputation more or less unscathed, the wiretaps are another story.
As of now, no formal connection has been made between these two incidents, and only time will tell if there is another even bigger scandal that has yet to be exposed. The wiretaps were sanctioned by French judges who were investigating whether the former president had accepted any illegal campaign donations from Libya. In 2011, Col. Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam had alleged that Sarkozy had taken millions of dollars from his father to finance illegal campaign operations. Even though the former French president has denied these allegations, there seems to have been some preliminary evidence that justified a warrant.
Sarkozy who lost to Francois Hollande in 2012 is already under formal investigation for accepting illegal campaign donations from L’Oreal heiress and France’s richest woman Liliane Bettencourt for his 2007 election campaign. Sarkozy has denied this allegation as well. French newspaper Le Monde has revealed that the former president had clearly tried to interfere with the country’s judicial system by attempting to reward a senior prosecutor for giving him valuable and confidential information that more than likely pertained to his investigation. In this respect, the attempt of Nicholas Sarkozy who is considered a strong contender for France’s next presidential election to sue his former aid for secret tape recordings maybe a publicity stunt.
This is because the hours and hours of footage have revealed nothing damaging about the first couple. If anything they reveal a caring and loving husband who was respectful of his subordinates even behind closed doors. Mr. Buisson’s attorney has stated that his client made these recordings primarily for historical reasons and that he was trying to neither collect damaging evidence nor blackmail the former president. Ironically Mr. Buisson was Sarkozy’s right hand man, whom he has even publicly credited as being the most important reason behind winning the French presidential election.
Mr. Buisson is reported to have been primarily responsible for Nicholas Sarkozy’s resurgent popularity as a presidential candidate. This was largely due to the fact that he brought the former president back into the fold of France’s far right-wing which is strict on issues like immigration and crime. For the most part Mr. Buisson is not very popular despite his political acumen. The last election of 2012 saw Sarkozy narrowly lose to Francois Hollande, and was proof that Buisson’s advice still rendered results. It is not exactly clear what led the former top presidential aide to make secret tape recordings of Nicholas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni while they were in office, and while the former president should have no trouble suing his former aide, he seems to have a lot of explaining to do over what the government has unearthed about him through those wiretaps.
By Unni K. Nair