Friday, 14 June 2013

Nicolas Sarkozy: the Ladder of Lies goes right to the top

A glass and a microphone with a man sitting behind them
It all started out as a rather banal story of a media-attractive formerly convicted and jailed corrupt businessman and erstwhile minister in a French government - nothing new there - called Bernard Tapie who got into a spat with a bank about the sale of one of his companies. He said they had ripped him off, and they denied it. Nothing new there either.

It was finally decided by an arbitral body appointed by Nicolas Sarkozy's government that Tapie was right and that therefore he would be given €405 million of taxpayers' money in compensation. That caused a minor stir at the time but, as is usual in France where the rich and influential are involved, it came to nothing, the years passed, and the affair was forgotten.

Last year however it emerged that then Economy Minister Christine Lagarde, in Sarkozy's government, had successfully demanded that the government and presidency intervene in his favour, an intervention, it is said, which led to Tapie getting his hands on the money. She denied it under questioning and is currently an assisted witness before a Parisian court, which thinks she may be lying.

Events have moved quickly since then. One of Tapie's lawyers and a political adviser to Lagarde were arrested recently on suspicion that they, and Tapie himself, had participated in meetings at the Elysée designed to perfect the strategy which would give him the money.

But why, you may ask, were those meetings ever held? After all, Tapie had been a socialist minister and he was dealing here with Sarkozy, his right-of-centre political antithesis. So what was the common interest?

The common interest, it now transpires, was that Tapie had promised his support for Sarkozy in the latter's efforts to be elected president in 2007 in return for his favourable intervention in his fight against the bank. And, once the deal agreed, Tapie did indeed support him, and had thus turned his political vest for money.

Sarkozy, Tapie, Lagarde and all the others denied that any such arrangement was made. Well, almost all the others. Because Lagarde's political advisor, already in custody, told investigators two days ago that Tapie had actively participated in the deal. He asserted moreover that Claude Guéant, Sarkozy's Chief of Staff at the Elysée, had also known about this operation and had participated in it. Guéant too denies it but the case has become so strong that he too is now under investigation, and Tapie shall not be far behind.

But most importantly however, Guéant, as head of the Elysée's administration and second only to Sarkozy, could not have been able to do this without Sarkozy's permission.

Which leads us to the top of the ladder. The President. Sarkozy. It is as plain as white on rice that this scam occured and that Sarkozy approved it. Do I have the proof? No. Of course not, in a country where it is almost impossible to gain access to the communications - email, letters, meetings, other documentation - which would be needed to prove it.

And that means that even if this scandal reaches Sarkozy, which it looks set to do, neither he nor any of the others will be found guilty of any malpractice. They will be aquitted without trial. Except, possibly, for Tapie's lawyer and Lagarde's political advisor, who may soon find themselves cast in the role of sacrificial lambs, scapegoats, and a sop to the French people in a shabby effort to be able to say that the rich and powerful are not immune from justice.

But they are immune, and the French know it. French democracy is extremely fragile compared to that of other comparable countries precisely because of the sheer amount of abuse its leaders are able to indulge themselves in without being made accountable either to the justice system or the public.

No wonder the French detest their political classes more than is the case anywhere else in Europe. The French elites are liars, thieves, opportunists, a back-scratching mafia, and I for one would be more than pleased to see the French people take to the streets to shout;


But they won't, because their demonstration time is already full of demos against economic measures which are eating away at their salaries due to the financial crisis. So it shall be business as usual.

The French - 'a revolutionary people'? - Laisse moi rire va.....


  1. Hi

    You know what I think of politicians and that Sarkozy's as badas any of them but one thing about this doesn't really fit for me. Was Tapie's support worth 400 million euros? Who approached who? Did Tapie say,
    "I really want a judgement in my favour and the 400 mill that goes with it."
    "Oh yeah, what's in it for us?"
    "Well, I support you in the next election"
    "Hmmm, that seems fair"

    For 400 million I'd vote for Patrick Sebastien!

    But I'm probably missing something.

    1. Hi Streaky, enjoying the warm weather? Who set all this in motion and why? Good question, as usual, and as usual your guess is as good as mine, but I suspect that Tapie may have had a substantial amount of damaging dirt on the methods of the Credit Lyonnais at that time and may have threatened to make it public if he wasn't given what he wanted. If that is the case, Sarkozy's reasoning could have been that by giving him what he wanted delested himself of a major banking and finance scandal, which is just what he didn't need at the time due to the upcoming crisis...

      But, like yourself, I'm probably missing something.

      oh and I too would support Sebastien for 400 million. Not that I'm corrupt or anyfink... ;)

  2. warm weather? you're havin' a laugh. Bloody chilly up here in Morbihan and raining on and off.

  3. I agree, they are all as bad as each other, and I bet Cahuzac has a list and is willing to use it if the shit hits the fan for him. This is how they often escape justice, because they are totally prepared to lift the lid on the pond scum that inhabit the political sphere, and then panic sets in, and they are acquitted.

    No justice for the rich because they don't need it.

    1. Oh yes, Cahuzac most certainly has dirt on the others that's for sure. And that's why, as you say, few French politicians denounce each other and why they don't profit from the charges brought against others for political gain. They all have dirt on each other.......

  4. Hi Fripouille

    Don't know if read this but it's pretty good. I really liked the line,

    "The bling leading the bling"

    1. That is a very thorough article, one of the best and most informative I've seen on the Sarkozy-Tapie affair in the English-speaking press.

      I didn't see the 'bling leading the bling' line though, but it certainly sums up the situation very well.