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Bygmalion trial: Nicolas Sarkozy questioned in court on Tuesday

2021-06-17T16:26:53.599Z

The interrogation of the former president, who appears for "illegal campaign financing", is to begin at 1:30 pm on Tuesday. This is the pr



He will come to the Paris Criminal Court.

Nicolas Sarkozy is expected there this Tuesday, for his questioning on the excessive spending of his 2012 campaign, as part of the Bygmalion trial, started on May 20 (to end on June 22) and to which the former president, although put in examination, do not attend.

His questioning is scheduled from 1:30 p.m., confirmed his lawyer Thierry Herzog.

The thirteen other defendants - former executives of Bygmalion and the UMP, campaign director, accountants - who marched to the bar, are all suspected of being involved to varying degrees in the double billing system imagined to hide the explosion of authorized expenses during the presidential candidate's campaign for re-election. The real price of some 40 meetings organized by the event agency Bygmalion had been drastically reduced, and the rest - 80% of the bills - paid by the UMP (now LR), in the name of fictitious party conventions.

Unlike the others, sent back for fraud or forgery, Nicolas Sarkozy is not blamed for this system, and appears for "illegal campaign financing" only.

He faces one year's imprisonment and a fine of 3,750 euros.

In March, he became the first ex-president of the Fifth Republic to be sentenced to prison (three years, one of which was closed), for corruption and influence peddling in the so-called “wiretapping” affair.

Did Nicolas Sarkozy know?

In the Bygmalion case, "the investigation has not established" according to the accusation that Nicolas Sarkozy could "order", "participate", or even be informed of the system. But the president-candidate, far from being "disconnected from his campaign", made the choice with his team of "spectacular and expensive meetings", and asked to accelerate the pace - up to one meeting per day. A campaign "of rare density", marked by a "total improvisation" of the ordering parties, had described the accusation.

The prosecution believes that Nicolas Sarkozy let expenses slip away, despite several clear alerts on the risk of overruns, and thus "unquestionably" benefited from fraud, which allowed him to have "much greater means" than authorized the law: at least 42.8 million in total, nearly double the legal ceiling at the time. To avoid having to publicly admit that his spending had drifted "dramatically", "with the political and financial consequences" that would have followed, says the prosecution, it was decided to "purge" the campaign account. .

A thesis in which Nicolas Sarkozy does not believe: the price of his meetings was "perfectly in line" with those of his opponent François Hollande, he told investigators. So, “where did this money go? The former secretary general of the UMP Jean-François Cope, cleared in this affair and heard as a simple witness last week, has an idea. "You always have to ask who benefits", he replied to the court when asked about his "hypothesis" on the question of the trial: who ordered the fraud?

Source: leparis

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