France top court: Sarkozy wiretap legal

France top court: Sarkozy wiretap legal

France’s highest court, the Court of Cassation [official website, in French], ruled Tuesday that phone tapped conversations between Nicolas Sarkozy [BBC profile] and his lawyer were legal. Beginning in 2013, investigators recorded conversations between the former French president and his lawyer for a case involving suspicious Libyan funding [BBC report] for Sakozy’s successful 2007 presidential bid. The conversations led investigators to a new set of charges for corruption. The court deemed the recordings admissible [AP report] even though lawyers for Sarkozy argued they broke lawyer-client confidentiality and went beyond the scope of the initial investigative purpose of the tap.

In 2014 Sarkozy was taken into police custody for questioning regarding allegations of misuse of influence and illegal campaign financing. Specifically, anti-corruption investigators [JURIST report] were looking into whether Sarkozy used his political influence [BBC report] to encourage a judge to share information with him about judicial proceedings into his 2007 presidential campaign funding. It is alleged Sarkozy offered the judge a prestigious position in Monaco in exchange for the information. Investigators also suspect Sarkozy was informed that his phone was being bugged during the campaign-funding investigation. Sarkozy’s post-presidential legal troubles started shortly after he lost the 2012 election. In June 2012, one month out of office and having lost his presidential immunity from investigative or legal procedures, Sarkozy was accused [JURIST report] of illegally using proceeds from submarine sales to Pakistan toward his campaign funding in 1995. In September 2013 a French appeals court allowed [JURIST report] an investigation to proceed into allegations that Sarkozy exploited L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, medically diagnosed with dementia, into donating to his political campaign. The charges were dropped the following month [JURIST report].