Wednesday 22 November 2017

Cut-throat Sarko brought to book by his former foes

In the latest expose on the French president, Sarkozy's rivals reveal he likes to play 'dirty', writes Aoife Drew

Aofie Drew

The reaction to the new book on President Nicolas Sarkozy, Sarko m'a tuer (Sarko killed me), released in France last week has been nothing if not predictable. 'Surrealist' and 'dirty politics' for the right, and 'vital information' for the left. But is anyone, even Sarkozy's supporters, surprised at the book's content? Not really.

According to the book, it seems that the financial affairs of this individual who regularly doles out economic advice to Ireland may be less than squeaky clean. Apparently he was the recipient of undeclared cash gifts from France's wealthiest woman, L'Oreal doyenne Liliane Bettencourt, and throughout his career has made a lot of people in high places suffer. The book states that Sarkozy once said to French businessman Jacques Dupuydauby: "There are two categories of people: those who will help me, who will be my friends, and those who will not help me, who will be my enemies." This tome presents interviews with various individuals who belong to the latter category.

Written by two journalists from Le Monde, Gerard Davet and Fabrice Lhomme, 30 people (civil servants, politicians, businesspeople) tell the story of how their careers or lives were destroyed at the hands of the French president. The most damning report comes from a senior judge, Isabelle Prevost-Desprez, who worked on 'l'affaire Bettencourt' until October of last year. This case was a huge scandal in France. In brief, the daughter of 87-year old Liliane Bettencourt, Francoise Meyers-Bettencourt, lodged a criminal complaint against her mother's 'friend', Francois-Marie Banier, because she had given him over €1bn of 'gifts', including works of art and apartments. Meyers-Bettencourt alleged he was taking advantage of her mother in her old age.

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