In a dramatic new development in the political funding scandal, magistrates are investigating claims that the house staff of Liliane Bettencourt, heiress to the L’Oreal cosmetics empire and France’s richest woman, had handed over brown envelopes stuffed with cash to Sarkozy and his aides to finance his successful 2007 presidential campaign.
Sarkozy and his wife were away on holiday when a Bordeaux judge and fraud squad officers burst into their home, before moving onto the Arnaud, Claude and associates law firm which Sarkozy, partly owns, and his offices.
Several former employees of Bettencourt have reportedly the told the judge that Sarkozy discreetly turned up at their mansion in Neuilly at least twice before his election in February and April 2007.
However, Sarkozy’s lawyer claims his official diary of 2007 proves it was “materially impossible” for him to have personally visited Bettencourt to allegedly pick up cash envelopes.
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