Tag Archives: Le Monde

France eyes strikes against ISIS in Syria – report

France is considering carrying out strikes against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria, French newspaper Le Monde reported on Saturday citing an anonymous “high-level source.”

President Francois Hollande will give a news conference on Monday to clarify the matter, but government officials are refusing to comment on the report yet.

The issue was allegedly discussed at a defense meeting with the president on Friday, and over the last few days unnamed top officials hinted to the French paper that the decision had been made.

In the coming months, an “informed source” said, reconnaissance missions could be conducted in Syria by the Dassault Mirage 2000 jet fighters based in Jordan.

Currently, France provides advice and arms to what it describes as “moderate” rebels in Syria.

Previously, French leaders ruled out the possibility of participating in the US-led coalition, despite having been the first state to join the US in their attacks on IS in Iraq.

Le Monde added that the change of policy could be caused by Europe’s refugee crisis, and the inability of pushing back Islamic State.

Some 3,000 people were killed in Syria by IS, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights’ report in June

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Sarkozy’s phone ‘tapped’ over Libya cash claims

A French judge has ordered that the phone of former President Nicholas Sarkozy be tapped as part of a probe on whether he took funds from ex-Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi to help bankroll his 2007 election campaign, the French daily Le Monde reported.

The judge allegedly first ordered Sarkozy’s phone be tapped in April 2013, as well as the phones of two of his former ministers, Brice Hortefeux and Claude Gueant, the paper revealed Friday.

But someone involved in the investigation most likely tipped Sarkozy off, as he became extremely careful about using his official phone. He and his lawyer then acquired secret mobile phones, the paper claimed. Investigators eventually found out about them and ordered they also be bugged.

Last year, French judges launched an investigation over allegations that deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi gave money to Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign. The explosive allegation first emerged in 2011, after Sarkozy played a central role in ordering French armed forces to help topple Gadaffi’s regime.

Saif al-Islam, one of Gadaffi’s sons, claimed Libya helped finance the French president’s election campaign. In an interview with Euronews TV channel, Saif threatened to make public the details of the bank transfers after France played such an instrumental role in toppling his father. He also demanded that the French president return the money.

Saif al-Islam Gadaffi

French investigative website Mediapart claimed in 2012 to have seen a confidential note suggesting that Gadaffi contributed 50 million euro to Sarkozy’s election fund in 2007. And in 2013, Ziad Takieddine, a hugely wealthy arms dealer with links to Britain, told French Judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke that he could supply paperwork proving the cash was paid between December 2006 and January 2007.

Le Monde also accused Gilbert Azibert, a prosecutor at France’s top appeals court, the Cour de Cassation, of secretly passing Sarkozy legal updates about a separate corruption scandal – the Bettencourt Affair. In return, France’s ex-president made sure Azibert was prompted to a top government job in Monaco.

In the Bettencourt case, Sarkozy was accused of receiving large campaign donations – which went unreported – from the heiress to the L’Oreal empire, Liliane Bettencourt. Investigators said that Sarkozy had taken advantage of 91-year-old Liliane, and that she was too frail to know what she was doing.

The charges were dropped in October 2013, but a further ten other people – including Sarkozy’s former campaign treasurer Eric Woerth – have been sent to trial over allegations that officials from Sarkozy’s UMP party received envelopes stuffed with cash from Bettencourt’s bank accounts.

Judges at France’s top court, the Cour de Cassation, are due to rule on March 11 whether seizures of Sarkozy’s agenda, diaries, and other documents during the course of the investigation into the Bettencourt Affair were legal.

The ruling on the handling of the Bettencourt case is crucial, says Le Monde, because it could have the potential to wreck yet another probe facing Sarkozy. Investigators want to build a case that the disgraced tycoon Bernard Tapie received a 400 million euro state bailout after the collapse of Credit Lyonnias Bank.

Sarkozy is suspected of rigging a settlement procedure to make sure Tapie got the cash as a ‘thank you’ for supporting him in the 2007 election. Tapie already has several corruption convictions, including one for match fixing when he was boss of Olympique Marseille football club.

The allegations in Le Monde come after lawyers representing Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni filed emergency legislation in a separate incident on Thursday against any further publication of leaked recordings, which reveal a range of compromising comments made by the ex-president while he was in office. Sarkozy and his wife’s emergency injunction will be heard on Monday.

With regard to the allegations published in Le Monde, Sarkozy’s lawyer, Thierry Herzog, said the accusations were fabricated.

I will show in due course that this is a political issue,” he said, adding that Sarkozy’s phone calls are still being wiretapped.

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FRANCE – Placé sur écoute, Nicolas Sarkozy au cœur d’une nouvelle affaire

Après avoir intercepté une conversation téléphonique entre l’ancien président Nicolas Sarkozy et son avocat, la justice soupçonne un haut magistrat de la Cour de cassation de renseigner l’ex-président français sur l’affaire Bettencourt.

Thierry Herzog, l’avocat de Nicolas Sarkozy, dénonce, vendredi 7 mars, une affaire “montée de toutes pièces” après la publication par “Le Monde” d’un article indiquant que l’ancien président est soupçonné de trafic d’influence auprès d’un haut magistrat.

Le journal ajoute que l’ancien chef de l’État a été placé sur écoute à la demande des juges, qui enquêtent, depuis avril 2013, sur les accusations de financement de sa campagne présidentielle de 2007 par la Libye de Mouammar Kadhafi. Lors de l’une des conversations téléphoniques interceptées, Nicolas Sarkozy et Thierry Herzog évoquent un haut magistrat du parquet général de la Cour de cassation, Gilbert Azibert.

Il y est question, selon “Le Monde”, de le solliciter pour se renseigner sur une procédure en cours devant la Cour de cassation en lien avec l’affaire Bettencourt. Le 11 mars, la Cour doit dire si elle valide la procédure Bettencourt, notamment la saisie des agendas de l’ancien locataire de l’Élysée.

Violation du secret de l’instruction

“Il n’y a eu aucun trafic d’influence, se défend Thierry Herzog dans un entretien au quotidien, vendredi. Je constate qu’on a monté une affaire artificiellement.” L’avocat, qui dénonce un “scandale d’État”, rappelle que le magistrat en question exerce ses fonctions au sein d’une chambre civile de la Cour de cassation et non de la chambre criminelle compétente dans l’affaire Bettencourt.

“S’il n’est pas directement lié à la procédure Bettencourt, puisqu’il s’occupe de dossiers civils, Monsieur Azibert a accès au service intranet de la haute juridiction”, écrit toutefois “Le Monde”.

Scandale d’État

De son côté, le Parti socialiste a vivement réagi, estimant qu’il y aurait un “scandale d’État” s’il était avéré que Nicolas Sarkozy et son avocat s’étaient rendu coupables de trafic d’influence comme le soupçonne la justice. “Si les faits” évoqués dans “Le Monde” “étaient avérés, ce serait un véritable scandale d’État”, a déclaré le Premier secrétaire du PS Harlem Désir.

Pour sa part, David Assouline, porte-parole du PS, estime qu'”en une semaine, l’UMP aura tout de même infligé aux Français une série de blessures démocratiques, que ce soit avec l’affaire Copé ou l’affaire Buisson”. “Plongée depuis deux ans dans des règlements de comptes terribles, la droite nous offre un spectacle affligeant, qui ne servira que les adversaires de la République”, ajoute-t-il, appelant néanmoins à la retenue l’instruction judiciaire étant en cours.

Quant au Front national il n’a pas manqué de réagir. Sa présidente Marine Le Pen a estimé, vendredi, que les scandales à répétition de l’UMP commençaient “à sentir beaucoup le soufre”. “Les enquêtes doivent se faire mais les libertés publiques doivent aussi être préservées”, a-t-elle souligné.

“C’est monstrueux”

Le 26 février dernier, le nouveau parquet national financier a ouvert une information judiciaire contre X pour violation du secret de l’instruction et trafic d’influence en marge de l’affaire Bettencourt.

Des perquisitions ont été menées mardi 4 mars chez Thierry Herzog et Gilbert Azibert dans cette affaire. À ce jour, personne n’a été placé en garde à vue ni mis en examen et l’instruction se poursuit, souligne une source judiciaire.

Thierry Herzog, qui dit avoir soupçonné le placement de son client sur écoute, dénonce une “violation monumentale des droits de la défense”. “Ce n’est même pas scandaleux, c’est monstrueux, dit-il. Je démontrerai le moment venu qu’il s’agit d’une affaire politique.”

via FRANCE – Placé sur écoute, Nicolas Sarkozy au cœur d’une nouvelle affaire – France 24.

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