Friday, June 28, 2013

The Scandals

Any number of scandals from the past continue to haunt France. The financier Ziad Takieddine now says that he financed Edouard Balladur's 1995 bid for the presidency to the tune of more than €100 million. Nicolas Sarkozy was the campaign treasurer, and a close associate of his has been named as the conduit. In perhaps the biggest scandal of all, Bernard Tapie has now been mis en examen in an affair that has already caught up a member of the arbitration panel, Christine Lagarde, the head of the IMF, Tapie's lawyer, the former secretary general of the Elysée Claude Guéant, and Éric Woerth, already up to his eyes in the Bettencourt scandal but now accused of underestimating Tapie's tax bill on his arbitration award by an eye-popping €100 million.

Of course, one question raised by the Tapie affair is why all these people would have taken such risks to aid Tapie. Surely his support for Sarkozy was not worth that much. Another possible motive would of course be pecuniary: the implication is that those who aided and abetted Tapie were somehow compensated for their services. As far as I am aware, no evidence to that effect has yet been leaked, so we are left waiting for another shoe to drop.

If Sarkozy, as rumored, is really contemplating a political comeback, these numerous affairs, in which his closest associates are deeply implicated, will complicate his task, to say the least. It's really quite astonishing: corruption of Italian magnitude at the very heart of the Republic.


George Ross said...

I agree about the explosion of crookery at the top. It is quite astounding and, even if half is true, should do in Sarko, or at least would have done him in unless France has sunk to US and Italian political standards (US legally, of course). What I wonder, however, and probably from my usual naîveté, is whether the guys in charge recently are doing more crookery than in the past, or whether in the past crookery was much more containable (remember the Barbouzes, private armies, and secret money around de Gaulle, Mitterrands crowd, Chirac's safe full of banknotes free for the asking as long as one did what Chirac needed in exchange, etc). Ah...yet another great book for someone to write.

DavidinParis said...

Really? Surprised? I have been here only 7 years and have seen this at all levels.

Cincinna said...

There's gambling going on? I'm shocked!
But for the record, apropos to Sarkozy, this latest report:
Reuters via The Chicago Tribune - Prosecutor recommends dropping Sarkozy probe

Helen Devries said...

What astonishment?

French friends have been telling me about financial skulduggery in high places for over twenty years....all that seems to be happening now is that Hollande has declared open season on Sarkozy.

Robert said...

What Helen Devries said. Why exactly is "corruption of Italian magnitude" astonishing? Didn't allegations of high-level graft play a big role in Giscard's defeat more than 30 years ago?

Robert said...

Speaking of which and for those who like alternate history AND a good politics and corruption thriller: I hotly recommend "L'Imagination au Pouvoir?" from the "Jour J" series of alternate history graphic novels.

The book takes place in a post-1968 Paris that is recovering from a civil war prompted by De Gaulle's death on his way to Baden-Baden.

Hippie communes, L.C.R. and S.A.C. militiamen control separate arrondissements, while Cohn-Bendit, Chirac and Mitterrand run a national unity cabinet. And everybody's trying to discover what happened to 200 million Francs that disappeared from the Central Bank at the height of Mai 68 unrest.

By far the best book in the series.