Sarkozy spying on French media in Bettencourt scandal

This video from France says about itself:

Allegations of illegal donations from France’s richest woman Liliane Bettencourt plunged Nicolas Sarkozy into the biggest crisis of his presidency on Tuesday. The president and his Labour Minister Eric Woerth – also in the eye of the storm – vehemently deny, while right-wing UMP party continues to denounce a smear campaign against the government.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Le Monde accuses Nicolas Sarkozy of ordering ‘spying’ on reporters

French newspaper claims that domestic intelligence agency broke law by investigating sources of leaks in Bettencourt affair

* Kim Willsher in Paris

* Monday 13 September 2010 21.24 BST

France’s most respected newspaper has accused Nicolas Sarkozy of ordering the counterintelligence services to spy on one of its reporters.

Quoting a law enacted during Sarkozy‘s presidency, Le Monde said it was suing for breach of confidentiality of sources linked to one of the most embarrassing scandals to hit the government.

The paper claimed that the DCRI, the equivalent of Britain’s MI5 domestic secret service, had broken the law by investigating the source of leaks related to claims of tax evasion and illegal party funding by the L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt. “The law is absolutely clear. ‘The confidentiality of journalists’ sources is protected in the exercise of their mission to inform the public’,” wrote Le Monde in its editorial.

It pointed out that this clause, strengthening a law dating back to 1881, was introduced by Sarkozy in January.

Since July, the president and his government have faced embarrassing allegations about donations by Bettencourt, France’s richest woman, to Sarkozy‘s ruling right-of-centre UMP party.

In July, Le Monde published an article, including extracts from a police interview of a witness in the affair that had thrown suspicion on the government minister Eric Woerth, who is also the UMP’s chief fundraiser. Woerth was accused of a conflict of interests, as his wife Florence worked for Bettencourt. He was also alleged to have accepted party donations from the billionaire while she was hiding part of her fortune in Swiss bank accounts.

See also here.

EU Threatens Action Over France’s Roma Expulsion: here. And here.

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding pledged on Tuesday to start legal proceedings against France over its “disgraceful” policy of expelling Roma people en masse: here.

The French government’s policy of mass expulsions of Roma has led to a sharp conflict between Brussels and Paris: here.

Authorities are investigating a suspected arson attack on a campsite in northern France where refugees from occupied Afghanistan live: here.

France’s right relying on xenophobia to rekindle party support: here.

15 thoughts on “Sarkozy spying on French media in Bettencourt scandal

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