From the Financial Times in Britain:
Sarko’s swirling stink bomb
By Hugh Carnegy
Nicolas Sarkozy dismisses it as an election campaign “stink bomb” concocted by his opponents. The leftwing newspaper Libération sees it more seriously, portraying the French president on its front page at the weekend sitting on a real bomb with the fuse burning down.
From AFP news agency today:
Sarkozy said he was not surprised by the resurgence of the illegal funding claims, adding that in the run-up to an election a few “stink bombs” were always thrown.
This drew outrage from Socialist candidate Francois Hollande’s camp.
“To say that these are stink bombs is an insult to the justicial system,” said Jean-Marc Ayrault, a top Hollande advisor and leader of the Socialist parliamentary group.
Green candidate and former prosecutor Eva Joly last week called for Sarkozy to “give up his immunity (as head of state) and go and explain himself”.
Investigating magistrate Jean-Michel Gentil has cited two dubious withdrawals of 400,000 euros each from Swiss bank accounts by an intermediary to Bettencourt’s close aide Patrice de Maistre.
On March 23 Gentil, charged de Maistre with several alleged crimes and ordered him detained.
The first withdrawal was made on February 5, 2007, two days before a meeting between de Maistre and Eric Woerth, who was at the time treasurer of Sarkozy’s first successful campaign.
Woerth later became labour minister but resigned in 2010 as the campaign financing probe gathered pace. In 2011 police carried out searches of his home and of the ruling UMP party’s office in connection with the case.
Bettencourt’s accountant, Claire Thibout, has testified to having been asked a number of times in 2007 to provide batches of 150,000 euros to Woerth.
The second questionable withdrawal was made on April 26, 2007 — four days after the first round of the presidential election and over a week ahead of the second round on May 6 that Sarkozy went on to win.
Commandos rounded up 10 people in the second France-wide sweep on suspected Islamic terrorists in just a few days on Wednesday, sparking criticism that President Nicolas Sarkozy is ramping up raids to win votes in a tight election: here.
There Is Nothing More Anti-Capitalist Than “the People First”. L’Humanite Staff, l’Humanite in France: “For l’Humanite Dimanche, Jean-Luc Melenchon explains the meaning of the citizens’ revolution, specifies the first measures that the government of the Front de gauche will place on the workbench once in power, and describes the steps to be taken in order to impose these measures on the French and European oligarchy”: here.