Business as usual today? Not quite for Nicolas Sarkozy. The French President is now personally targeted by sleaze allegations that have battered his government.
Media reports claim France’s richest woman gave Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign an illegal 150,000 euro donation in unmarked envelopes. He has dismissed the allegations, urging the French people to focus on other issues.
“I would love it so much if the country could excite itself over the big problems, rather than jumping on the first horror story, a slander, which has only one goal, to smear with no basis in reality,” Sarkozy told reporters.
It is also claimed that Sarkozy, years ago, took cash in person from Liliane Bettencourt and her late husband. His office has denied this.
But senior party colleagues are demanding explanations, as is the opposition. If the latest revelations are true, it is very serious, said Socialist leader Martine Aubry.
As the pressure mounts, Sarkozy is being urged to bring forward a Cabinet reshuffle and to broadcast to the nation before he goes on holiday next week.
Sarkozy under pressure as sleaze scandal grows