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.