Listen Download Podcast
  • RFI English News flash 04h00 - 04h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 12/07 04h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 04h10 - 04h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 12/07 04h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 05h00 - 05h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 12/07 05h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 05h10 - 05h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 12/07 05h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h00 - 06h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 12/07 06h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h10 - 06h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 12/07 06h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h30 - 06h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 12/07 06h30 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h33 - 06h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 12/07 06h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h00 - 07h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 12/07 07h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h30 - 07h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 12/07 07h30 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 12/04 14h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h06 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 12/07 14h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 14h03 - 14h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 12/04 14h03 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h06 - 14h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 12/07 14h06 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h30 - 14h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 12/07 14h30 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h33 - 14h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 12/07 14h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 12/04 16h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h06 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 12/07 16h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h03 - 16h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 12/04 16h03 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h30 - 16h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 12/07 16h30 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h33 - 17h00 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 12/04 16h33 GMT
To take full advantage of multimedia content, you must have the Flash plugin installed in your browser. To connect, you need to enable cookies in your browser settings. For an optimal navigation, the RFI site is compatible with the following browsers: Internet Explorer 8 and above, Firefox 10 and +, Safari 3+, Chrome 17 and + etc.
Urgent

The trial of RFI's Hausa-language correspondent in Cameroon, Ahmed Abba, has been postponed for a month, by which date he will have spent 17 months in prison, because experts had failed to provide a report on the contents of his computers and mobile phone at today's hearing. France Médias Monde again called for his release and the dismissal of complicity with terrorism charges.

France

Bettencourt’s ex-accountant says Sarkozy received illegal cash donations

media © REUTERS

Presidential aides deny allegations Nicolas Sarkozy received cash payments from France’s richest woman Liliane Bettencourt, the day after Bettencourt’s former accountant said her employer funded Sarkozy’s election campaign via envelopes containing cash.

In an interview with the website Mediapart, the accountant, identified as Claire T, says Bettencourt’s financial manager, Patrice de Maistre, wanted to withdraw 150,000 euros in March 2007 with the intention of giving it to Eric Woerth to fund Sarkozy’s presidential campaign. At the time Woerth was Sarkozy’s campaign treasurer.

Woerth on Tuesday denied the charges.

The accountant, who alleges she worked for Bettencourt from 1995 to 2008, says she testified to the police about the cash donations on Monday evening.

She also said Sarkozy himself was a regular visitor at the Bettencourt family home, where he too allegedly received envelopes of cash when he was mayor of the town of Neuilly.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Elysée Palace said allegations Sarkozy received cash payments were “totally false”. He added that allegations Woerth received a 150,000 cash donation from Bettencourt “seemed groundless.”

Claire T alleges that she refused to give De Maistre 150,000 euros because she was only authorised to withdraw 50,000 euros. She says she gave him 50,000 euros and that De Maistre withdrew 100,000 euros from Bettencourt’s bank accounts in Switzerland.

“Then Maistre told me he would be joining Eric Woerth for diner soon, so as to give him 150,000 euros ‘discreetly,’ I quote. And the dinner did indeed take place quickly,” Claire T told Mediapart.

Sarkozy is the latest politician to be dragged into the scandal surrounding L’Oréal heiress, which was sparked by secret recordings alleging Bettencourt was evading tax.

Bettencourt’s butler secretly recorded conversations between Bettencourt, her lawyers and financial managers, which allude to bank accounts held in Switzerland.

Labour Minister, Eric Woerth, who was budget minister at the time, was mentioned several times in the recordings, which prompted the opposition to call for his resignation.

On Sunday evening, International Development Secretary Alain Joyandet and Christian Blanc, who is responsible for the Paris region, resigned over scandals involving the spending of public money on cigars and jets.

Virtually the entire French press saw the resignations as an attempt to take the spotlight off Woerth, a key figure in Sarkozy’s government.

Related
 
Sorry but the period of time connection to the operation is exceeded.