France's ex-first lady charged with witness tampering over husband's campaign finance case

By Isaac M July 10, 2024

Former French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy has been charged with pressuring a witness who accused ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy of receiving illegal campaign financing from Libya.

The former supermodel has been put on bail which stops her from contacting any of those involved in the proceedings with the exception of her husband, according to an official who could not be named.

Preliminary charges against Bruni-Sarkozy include witness tampering and attempting to commit fraud by deceiving magistrates investigating her husband on suspicion of receiving illegal funds during his 2007 presidential election campaign.

After she was questioned by police in May, her lawyers said she provided ”useful clarifications and explanations” but did not comment further.

The witness involved, Ziad Takieddine, is central to accusations that Sarkozy received millions in illegal payments from the regime of then-Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi.

Nicolas Sarkozy, president of France from 2007 to 2012, has already been convicted in two other cases. He married the supermodel in 2008 in a private ceremony at the Elysee Palace after a reportedly 11-week whirlwind romance.

Bruni-Sarkozy met Queen and Charles soon after wedding

Not long after their wedding, the couple undertook a state visit to the UK, meeting Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, and the then Prince of Wales, now King Charles.

Sarkozy has vigorously denied wrongdoing in all the cases.

Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy pictured after voting in the second round of French presidential elections. Pic: AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere
Image:
Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy pictured after voting in the second round of French presidential elections. Pic: AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere

Sarkozy sentenced to a year in prison but has appealed

In February, an appeals court in Paris upheld a guilty verdict against the former president for illegal campaign financing in his failed 2012 re-election bid.

Sarkozy was sentenced to a year in prison, of which six months were suspended.

His lawyers have appealed to the Court of Cassation, France’s highest court.

With the appeal pending, Sarkozy cannot be imprisoned in line with French law.

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Earlier found guilty of corruption and influence peddling

He was accused of having spent almost twice the maximum legal amount of €22.5m (£19m) on the re-election bid that he lost to Socialist Francois Hollande.

In a separate case in 2021, Sarkozy, 69, was found guilty of corruption and influence peddling.

He is the first former French president in modern history convicted and sentenced to prison for actions during his term.

Sarkozy retired from active politics in 2017.

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