President Sarkozy allegedly received and accepted €150,000 ($188,000) from L’Oreal heir Liliane Bettencourt, through labour Minister Eric Woerth, during his 2007 presidential campaign.
The accusation comes from Bettencourt’s former accountant, mysteriously named Claire T. on the French online press site Mediapart. It describes in detail dinners and the handing over of envelopes.
Claire T. incriminates the current labour Minister Eric Woerth, who according to her, also received money for the campaign. Both Nicolas Sarkozy and Eric Woerth deny taking any money.
President Sarkozy says that he “would like for the French to be passionate about big problems, and not to get worked up at the first slander that sully the truth.”
True or not, the accusation comes at the worst time possible for Nicolas Sarkozy. On Sunday, two of his ministers announced their resignations after accusations of using taxpayer’s money to finance their extravagant lifestyles, according to Le Monde. And labour Minister Woerth is already under scrutiny for a possible conflict of interest while being Budget Minister from 2007 to March 2010, because his wife was handling part of the fortune of L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.
All this mess means that the government is increasingly losing the trust of the French people. But this situation shouldn’t be new to them: former President Jacques Chirac was allegedly also involved in electoral fraud, corruption and possibly going on trips with the money of a private company.
And to accentuate it all, here’s what Claire T. has to say to Mediapart : “As [Andre Bettencourt] was generous, it wouldn’t surprise me if he hadn’t also financed Chirac’s political activities.”
Nicolas Sarkozy is to address the political situation soon on French television.
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