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France's President Sarkozy seen in this video grab from France2 Television
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has spoken out in favour of Labour Minister Eric Woerth over allegations of illegal campaign funding but called for a conflict of interest inquiry in response to criticism.
Speaking in an interview on French television station France 2, he said he “advised” Woerth to leave his function as treasurer of the UMP party in order to dedicate himself “exclusively” to pension reforms.
He also responded to allegations that he accepted cash envelopes from the l'Oréal heiress Lilianne Bettencourt which he denied and called “shameful”.
Will the Bettencourt scandal help the far right?
Sarkozy was scheduled to speak about the contested labour reforms although the interview is expected to be dominated by the Bettencourt / Woerth scandal which has been at the centre of political debate for weeks.
On Friday, the president put out a message on his facebook page asking the French to ask questions on “subjects which interest them” and questions which they want him to answer.