“Anticorruption authorities,” reports the New York Times, are investigating via phone tapping, among other things, whether former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his lawyer“sought information from a judge about the progress of an investigation of the financing for his 2007 election campaign.” To wit:
Mr. Sarkozy has been dogged by the accusation that the campaign received up to 50 million euros, or about $68 million, in illegal funds from Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya.
Also, BBC reported recently that his interpreter Moftah Missouri said Qaddafi“himself told me personally, verbally, that Libya had transferred about $20m” to Sarkozy’s campaign.
If you haven’t heard that before, yikes, right? Should that be true, seeking inside info from the judge only compounded his crime. What’s more, if you’re not familiar with the story, it gets worse. In one of its trademark aggregation articles, the Daily Mail reported in September 2012:
A French secret serviceman acting on the express orders of Nicolas Sarkozy is suspected of murdering Colonel Gaddafi, it was sensationally claimed today.
… Mahmoud Jibril, who served as interim Prime Minister following Gaddafi’s overthrow, told Egyptian TV: ‘It was a foreign agent who mixed with the revolutionary brigades to kill Gaddafi.’
… The motive, according to well-placed sources in the North African country, was to stop Gaddafi being interrogated about his highly suspicious links with Sarkozy, who was President of France at the time.
Meanwhile Zimbabwe’s the Herald raises an interesting point.
If Sarkozy is found on the wrong side on the law, should he be tried in France or Libya or at the International Criminal Court since Africa has maintained that the Libyan rebels that toppled and murdered Gaddafi with the assistance of nato forces committed crimes against humanity?
Sarkozy was in a state of high dudgeon over being taken into custody. From the Times article:
“I am profoundly shocked by what happened,” Mr. Sarkozy told the French broadcaster TF1.
He was similarly outraged last year when an investigation was dropped. From an October 2013 Times article:
“One never wins in slandering,” … “All one does is debase democracy.”
In that instance, French magistrates said
… they were dropping an investigation into charges that former President Nicolas Sarkozy had manipulated a fragile heiress into financing his 2007 campaign, removing a potential obstacle to the political return that Mr. Sarkozy is widely assumed to be planning.
It seems that
… the investigative judges in the southwestern city of Bordeaux placed Mr. Sarkozy under formal investigation in the so-called Bettencourt Affair, a tangle of allegations of embezzlement and financial malfeasance among people connected to Liliane Bettencourt, 90, the heiress to the L’Oréal fortune and France’s wealthiest woman. The magistrates suspected that Mr. Sarkozy had taken advantage of Ms. Bettencourt’s mental “frailty,” extracting campaign pledges from her in personal meetings shortly before his 2007 election.
In yet another case,
… a judge is investigating the possible misuse of public funds by Mr. Sarkozy’s presidential office, which signed contracts with a number of private polling agencies without a competitive bidding process and appeared to pay excessive sums, sometimes for polls that appeared to have only his electoral considerations at heart.
Meanwhile, the second member of the Transatlantic neocon triumvirate (along with George W. Bush), Tony Blair, also continues his unsavory ways. The Guardian reports:
Tony Blair has agreed to advise the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who came to power in a military coup last year, as part of a programme funded by the United Arab Emirates that has promised to deliver huge “business opportunities” to those involved, the Guardian has learned.
The former prime minister, now Middle East peace envoy, who supported the coup against Egypt’s elected president Mohamed Morsi, is to give Sisi advice on “economic reform” in collaboration with a UAE-financed taskforce in Cairo – a decision criticised by one former ally.
The UAE taskforce is being run by the management consultancy Strategy&, formerly Booz and Co.
Of Blair’s post-prime minister, profit-addled mindset, Philip Stevens writes at the Financial Times (behind a paywall):
The former UK prime minister is catholic in his choice of clients. Not so long ago he was a proselytiser for democracy. Now, along with the monarchs of the Gulf, he courts Kazakhstan’s president Nursultan Nazarbayev. His excuse says he is promoting political reform; the reality is that he is paid handsomely in lending a cloak of respectability to a central Asian tyrant.
Add in the paid-for speeches, dealmaking with the US investment banker Michael Klein and a lucrative door-opening role at JPMorgan, and it all adds up to a tidy sum. Guesses of Mr Blair’s wealth put it at about £100m. Friends suggest this is a serious underestimate.
As a reader writes of Blair in a letter to the Financial Times:
The obvious comparison with George W Bush’s behaviour after office is indeed telling and, in fact, it is Mr Bush (to everyone’s surprise) who has demonstrated a much more carefully balanced and nuanced dignity by his own behaviour compared with Mr Blair’s.
Maybe Bush just has the sense to lay low to dodge accusations and charges — especially war crimes — that might attach themselves to him.