France’s Justice Minister, Christiane Taubira, is defying calls for her to quit after it was revealed she did know former President Nicolas Sarkozy was having his phone tapped.
On Monday she had denied any knowledge. By Tuesday, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault admitted he and Taubira had both known last month.
“No I did not lie. For several days, and particularly over the last 24 hours, I’ve heard paragons of virtue and justice calling for my resignation, and I can give them my response right now: no, I am not resigning,” Taubira said.
It was recently leaked to the media that Sarkozy had his phone tapped for the past year as part of an investigation into alleged campaign donations from Libya.
The phone taps apparently revealed evidence that the ex-President was getting confidential information from a senior prosecutor about cases against him.
The Socialist government had welcomed the news just before local elections later this month.
Now the tables have turned and the opposition centre-right UMP party has accused the government of “political espionage” and manipulating the justice system to hound Sarkozy and discredit him.