LE NOUVEL OBS (France)
PARIS – At midnight Friday, European time, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy will become a citizen like any other again. The French Constitution protects any standing President from being taken to court. But now that Sarkozy has been bumped from office by François Hollande, he could face prosecution in several outstanding cases.
In addition to many minor accusations sure to arise, Sarkozy has been cited in three major cases in France, Le Nouvel Observateur reports.
The biggest threat for Sarkozy is certainly the Bettencourt case where the former President has been cited by several witnesses for questionable dealings with Liliane Bettencourt, the billionaire heir to the L'Oreal's cosmetic giant. Patrick de Maistre, who managed Bettencourt's fortune, could have asked her to withdraw this money, cash, to give it to Nicolas Sarkozy in order to finance his 2007 presidential campaign.
He is also suspected of being linked to what is known in France as the Karachi scandal. In 1995, Sarkozy was running Edouard Balladur's presidential campaign. Both are accused of having funded the campaign with 10 million euros coming from commissions linked to arms contracts in Pakistan.
And most recently, the French website Médiapart reported evidence that it says shows that Muammar Gaddafi funded Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign. Saif al Islam Gaddafi, the son of the former Libyan dictator, was quoted as saying: "We funded his campaign, and we have proof. … And now we want this clown to give the money back to the Libyan people," he said at the end of 2011, just before France got involved in the Libyan revolution, hastening Gaddafi's fall.