Friday, March 7, 2014

Sarkozy Wiretapped

Can things get any worse for the UMP and ex-Pres. Sarkozy? It seems that Sarkozy is now suspected of influence-trafficking in connection with the Bettencourt scandal. He is accused of promising a sinecure in Monaco to a judge who was passing him information about the case. The investigators tapped his telephone conversations (using burners, just like on TV!) with his attorney Thierry Herzog:
Me Herzog s'en ouvre au téléphone auprès de M. Sarkozy. Et lui confie au passage que M. Azibert serait ravi de bénéficier d'un coup de pouce professionnel. En effet, proche de la retraite, celui-ci postule pour un poste de conseiller d'Etat à Monaco. Il aimerait bien, aurait-il glissé à l'avocat, que l'ex-chef de l'Etat, doté d'un fort pouvoir d'influence, intervienne en sa faveur.


Anonymous said...

For a serious newspaper, 'Le Monde' is far too keen on information hijacquerie... can it hope ever to be respected again after Julian (Silly-) Ass-angel, Wikidrips, Edward Snow-denier, et al exposures?

Mitch Guthman said...

I think, yes, maybe it could get worse. The first question is whose phones are being tapped and why. It's certainly possible that it was the lawyer who was under surveillance for criminal activity unrelated to Sarkozy. If so, it's possible that that only a handful of conversations of a conspiratorial nature were overheard and, of these, the corruption of a judge was the most damaging.

On the hand, if he was the target then Sarkozy is probably in a world of trouble. I have a pretty strong feeling that the police or whoever is doing this wouldn’t wiretap and maybe bug the president of their country without some pretty powerful indications that they’d hit pay dirt and, specifically, enough dirt so they’d survive the blowback from going after a very powerful man.

There’s a saying in law enforcement that you don’t hunt an elephant without an elephant gun.

Cincinna said...

IMO it's going to get worse, worse for Hollande and the PS as more and more is revealed about their coup monté to take down Sarkozy.
From everything I've heard, the PS, now rudderless and leaderless, is totally desperate. They believe their only chance for survival is to prevent the return of Sarko, and ensure a runoff between Hollande and MLP.
The big problem with that is it's a very risky gamble, as is secret spying on meetings of State, lawyer- client, and husband and wife. There is no guarantee that Hollande would even make it to the 2nd round even without Sarko, and even if he did, with the disgust and disappointment in Hollande, most people just will not vote for him. From journalists and public officials on the right, but also on the left, given the choice between MLP and a Hollande, they would give Marine a chance. They figure she couldn't do worse.

Mitch Guthman said...

So, I have a small question about the Le Monde article. The first time I read it, I understood the writers to be saying that the police (or somebody) asked for permission to wiretap Sarkozy; possibly after getting whatever the French call probable cause from listening to somebody. After more careful reading, that seems wrong.

I now understand the article to be saying that at some point during the Bettencourt investigation the investigating judges ordered Sarkozy to be placed under technical surveillance, which included tapping of his telephones (presumably both official and personal). At some point, Sarkozy learned that he was under surveillance (possibly from the corrupt official mentioned in the article) and took certain precautions, including apparently, using burner phones.

At some point, the judges/police/whoever learned or surmised that their wiretap was blown, either because the surveillance was extensive enough to pick up the purchase of the burner phone or someone discussed using burners in a place that was bugged or they have someone inside. There is no possibility that doesn't force a serious upwards revision of my guesstimate regarding Sarkozy's jeopardy.

I would venture a guess that one constant in the world of public integrity investigation is that you don't hunt elephants without an elephant gun. It seems highly likely that the Sarkozy boomlet is about to go boom.

Mitch Guthman said...

@ Cincinna,

If there's something tying Hollande to Sarkozy's current troubles, I'm not aware of it. The first set of tapes were made by a close political aide of Sarkozy's with extremely close and long standing ties to the extreme right and, most particularly, the FN. I see absolutely no basis for suspecting Hollande's involvement.

Even though the time frame for the leaks in the current article seems to place the taps on the burner phones in 2013, we don't know if that was simply a continuation of surveillance that was authorized earlier. I would remind you that the Bettencourt investigation took place mostly during the course of Sarkozy's presidency and I'm not aware of any indication that Hollande changed any of the officials responsible for the Bettencourt investigation.