The former French president Nicolas Sarkozy is dealing with a preliminary investigation for impact peddling in link with a €3m (£2.seven) contract he signed with a Russian insurance policy company.
The rightwing politician reportedly obtained a 1st payment of €500,000 final calendar year following remaining hired as a “special adviser” to the Reso-Garantia group, owned by two Russian-Armenian billionaire brothers.
Anti-corruption detectives want to establish no matter whether Sarkozy was employed as a marketing consultant or to lobby on behalf of the company. The latter could direct to a charge of impact peddling and covering up a criminal offense or misdemeanour.
The new investigation is the newest of Sarkozy’s ongoing lawful woes. A verdict on final year’s demo for corruption and impact peddling, for the duration of which prosecutors identified as for a four-calendar year jail sentence and which marked the 1st time a former French president experienced appeared in the dock, is predicted on one March.
Sarkozy is also predicted in court docket this calendar year in relation to alleged illegal overspending on his unsuccessful 2012 re-election bid and is under ongoing investigation more than allegations he obtained illicit marketing campaign funding from the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
A member of Sarkozy’s entourage told the Guardian the former president was “perfectly calm” about the new investigation and that his “consulting things to do are framed in strict compliance with lawful and ethical rules”.
The investigation was disclosed by the web-site Mediapart just hrs following the satirical newspaper Le Canard enchainé claimed Sarkozy’s ex-spouse Cécilia Attias was compensated as a portion-time parliamentary assistant in 2002 when there was no evidence she did any work to justify her €3,100-a-month wage.
Sarkozy has continuously said he has in no way engaged in any wrongdoing and at occasions suggested the multiple accusations towards him ended up a political smear try. He told the court docket final December he experienced “never committed the slightest act of corruption”.
In accordance to Mediapart, France’s national fraud unit, Tracfin, raised concerns final calendar year more than why Sarkozy, who led France amongst 2007 and 2012, experienced been given the €3m contract with Reso-Garantia and what his role was. The company’s owners, Sergei and Nikolai Sarkisov, told Mediapart they experienced compensated the former president as a “special adviser” and chairman of the company management board’s strategic council committee.
Reso-Garantia, started in 1991, is one particular of Russia’s biggest insurance policy businesses, specialising in vehicle insurance policy, with about eleven million consumers. In 2007, the French insurance provider Axa obtained 36.seven% of the company. Axa is a key shopper of the lawful firm Realyze, co-started by Sarkozy in 1987.
The national economical prosecutor confirmed Sarkozy experienced been placed under “preliminary investigation”. This is the 1st phase of a lawful inquiry to establish no matter whether there are any expenses to response. If the investigation concludes there are, the former president could be mis en examen, put under official investigation.