Charges dropped against ex-French pres. Nicolas Sarkozy
Corruption charges against former French President Nicolas Sarkozy for taking financial advantages of the richest woman in France during his 2007 election campaign have been dropped.
According to an unnamed judicial source, judges, Jean-Michel Gentil and ValÃ©rie NoÃ«l, investigating the election financing scandal in the city of Bordeaux decided on Monday to drop the corruption charges against Sarkozy, saying there was œinsufficient” evidence against the 58-year-old.
The former president was charged in March with accepting illegal donations to finance his 2007 presidential campaign from French billionaire and L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, when she was allegedly too frail to understand the decisions she was taking.
In 2010, Claire Thibout, Bettencourt™s former accountant, said she had given envelopes filled with cash to Bettencourt™s fortune manager on the understanding it was to be passed on to Sarkozy™s campaign treasurer.
Meanwhile, Sarkozy is being investigated in a separate case, in which he is accused of accepting up to 50 million euros (USD 65 million) in cash for the 2007 campaign from former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
The rise in political corruption cases comes as France is dealing with a struggling economy.
France is one of a few rich economies with a double-digit unemployment rate, others being eurozone members Spain and Italy, along with South Africa.
In an attempt to lower the country™s huge debt load, the French government has increased taxes and implemented several reforms and spending cuts. However, the measures have proven unproductive since the financial crisis in the eurozone has not been resolved and the euro area is still bogged down in recession.
Copyright: Press TV