Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has come out fighting on French TV news to dismiss corruption allegations he is facing as “political instrumentalisation of the law”.
He dismissed the legal process that saw him detained for questioning and placed under investigation as revealing a “will to humiliate” him, and a “political manipulation”. He is the first president of the fifth republic to be detained for a criminal interrogation.
“I’m deeply shocked at what’s happened. I’m not asking for special treatment, if I’ve done something wrong I accept the consequences. I’m not a man who runs away from his responsibilities.
“These charges are grotesque. And I’m going to prove it to you. When I came to the end of 14 hours of questioning by the police, I didn’t know the affair, but I agreed to answer all the questions scrupulously, which produced 45 pages of testimony which has been at the judges’ disposal. I sat down facing the two female investigating judges who then proceeded to place me under investigation on three charges without even asking me a question or answering one of mine,” he said.
Nicolas Sarkozy currently features in five other corruption investigations, but none go so directly to the heart of the political machine that he built.
After promising so much, Sarkozy’s stay in the Elysee palace was brief. He lost his first bid to be re-elected but President Francois Hollande has proved even less popular in even less time.