Sarkozy 'shirked responsibility' in campaigning scandal: ex-aide

14th October 2015, Comments 0 comments

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was accused by a former aide Wednesday of lying and failing to take responsibility in a scandal over the funding of his 2012 presidential campaign.

Jerome Lavrilleux, a member of the European Parliament and the former deputy director of Sarkozy's campaign, said in an interview that the former president had "shirked his responsibility".

Judges are investigating an event organising firm, Bygmalion, which is accused of falsifying invoices for staging Sarkozy's appearances and billing what was then known as the conservative UMP party instead of the campaign.

The idea, it is alleged, was to get round strict rules on the funding of French political campaigns.

Lavrilleux has been charged over the scandal.

"I am going to tell you something that I have never said, and of which I am certain looking at the file on this case now -- the accounts for Nicolas Sarkozy's 2012 campaign got out of control, and not just the budget for meetings," Lavrilleux told L'Obs magazine in an interview to be published Thursday.

"This shouldn't be called the Bygmalion affair any more, it should be called the Nicolas Sarkozy campaign financing affair," he said.

Sarkozy has always insisted he had no personal knowledge of the system of "sham invoices".

"Nicolas Sarkozy is lying," Lavrilleux said in the interview.

Sarkozy, who was president from 2007 to 2012, failed in his bid for re-election when he was beaten by the Socialist Francois Hollande.

He returned to frontline politics last year when he became president of the party which he renamed as The Republicans and is pushing himself forward as a candidate for the 2017 presidential election.


© 2015 AFP

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