France’s Nicolas Sarkozy loses bid to avoid influence peddling trial

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy will stand trial for influence peddling after the country's highest court rejected his final bid to avoid a trial. (AFP/2018 File Photo)
Updated 19 June 2019
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France’s Nicolas Sarkozy loses bid to avoid influence peddling trial

  • Sarkozy is accused of offering to help a judge win promotion
  • Sarkozy’s lawyers have previously argued that magistrates investigating the alleged secret Libyan funding exceeded their powers

PARIS: Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy will stand trial for influence peddling after the country's highest court rejected his final bid to have the case thrown out, his lawyer said on Wednesday.
Sarkozy is accused of offering to help a judge win promotion in return for leaked information about a separate inquiry. He has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
The case came about after investigators used phone-taps to examine allegations that late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi funded Sarkozy’s successful campaign for the presidency in 2007.
As they eavesdropped on his calls, the investigators began to suspect the former president had offered the judge promotion in return for information on another investigation involving allegations Sarkozy accepted illicit payments from L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt for the same campaign.
Sarkozy’s lawyers have previously argued that magistrates investigating the alleged secret Libyan funding exceeded their powers and went on a “fishing expedition” by tapping his conversations between September 2013 and March 2014, breaching lawyer-client privilege.
He was cleared over the Bettencourt allegations.
On Wednesday, his defence team said the use in this case of wiretapped remarks gleaned in relation to a different investigation contravened a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.
"These legal issues are still relevant," Sarkozy lawyer Jacqueline Laffont said. "It will be for the court to decide whether a French court can override a decision of the European Court of Human Rights."
Wednesday's ruling that the trial proceed came from the 'Cour de Cassation', which decides whether an earlier decision by an appeals court conforms with French law.


Many feared trapped in major fire in India’s financial capital Mumbai

Updated 18 min ago
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Many feared trapped in major fire in India’s financial capital Mumbai

  • Television channels said nearly 100 people may be trapped in the building that houses the office of state-owned telecoms company MTNL
  • “The fire has been confined to the third and fourth floor of the building,” the fire department said

MUMBAI: A major fire broke out on Monday in a nine-story government building in India’s financial capital of Mumbai, with several people feared trapped, fire officials said.

Television channels said nearly 100 people may be trapped in the building that houses the office of state-owned telecoms company MTNL.

“The fire has been confined to the third and fourth floor of the building,” the fire department, which has dispatched 14 fire engines to the site, said in a text message.

A Reuters witness said five or six people were on a balcony on one floor, with some waving white handkerchiefs.

An officer said 14 fire engines at the site are evacuating people using hydraulic platforms in the city's Bandra area.

Television images showed people breaking window panes and waving to fire officers to evacuate them. No casualties were immediately reported.

A woman rescued by fire services told the New Delhi Television news channel that 30 to 40 people were waiting to be evacuated from the building, with the third and fourth floors filled with smoke.

Fires are common in India, where building laws and safety norms are often flouted by builders and residents.