Sarkozy's legal mess has nothing to do with me – Hollande
Francois Hollande, has staunchly denied meddling with the country's judiciary following complaints by Nicolas Sarkozy, his conservative predecessor, of "political interference" in a corruption inquiry against him.
The French president made the comments during a TV interview yesterday on Bastille Day, which was celebrated with the traditional military parade down the Champs-Elysees, but with troops from 76 countries joining to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.
Mr Hollande also batted off questions over whether he would remain a bachelor for the rest of his five-year term after splitting up with Valerie Trierweiler, his former official partner, and apparently distancing himself from Julie Gayet, an actress with whom he met regularly in secret near the Elysee Palace.
Mr Hollande, who is said to be feeling "lonely" in the Elysee, according to Le Parisien, said: "Private life must remain private life. When I have something to say I will, but I don't have any announcements."
At the end of the grilling, the interview turned to Mr Sarkozy's claims charges against him for allegedly seeking to influence a judge were part of a political smear campaign.
Mr Hollande said: "Not only did I not [intervene in a judicial inquiry], but I would never have dreamt of such a thing." Denying reports that he was "closely following" the inquiry, he added: "Those who think that the Elysee can wield influence over the judiciary not only understand nothing of my state of mind but understand nothing about the demands of our fellow citizens."
Two weeks ago, magistrates placed Mr Sarkozy under investigation for offering favours to a judge in exchange for details on an inquiry into alleged illegal party funding during his victorious 2007 campaign. (© Daily Telegraph, London)