News / Europe

    France's Sarkozy Wins Battle to Pull Secret Recordings

    FILE - In this Dec.11, 2009 file photo, then French President Nicolas Sarkozy makes a phone call during a EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels.
    FILE - In this Dec.11, 2009 file photo, then French President Nicolas Sarkozy makes a phone call during a EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels.
    Reuters
    A French court on Friday ordered a news website to withdraw recordings an adviser secretly took of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy during his 2012 election campaign.

    In an emergency ruling sought by Sarkozy, who is expected by many to enter the next presidential contest in 2017, the Paris court also ordered the adviser, Patrick Buisson, to make a damages downpayment of 10,000 euros ($13,900) to the conservative leader and wife Carla Bruni.

    Revelations in early March that Buisson, once part of Sarkozy's inner circle, had recorded hours of talks with the conservative leader and his entourage, caused uproar in the opposition UMP party ahead of late March local elections.

    The Paris court ordered right-wing news website Atlantico.fr to pull postings of the recordings rapidly or face daily fines.

    Sarkozy lawyer Thierry Herzog said he was “satisfied” with the ruling and Richard Malka, a lawyer for Sarkozy's wife Carla Bruni, said: “This decision shows that the end does not justify the means. People cannot live under the sword of Damocles with recordings taken all the time that then end up broadcast on the Internet”.

    In the published excerpts Atlantico posted, Sarkozy is heard discussing his electoral strategy and a 2011 cabinet reshuffle, while singer wife Carla Bruni is recorded joking about how she had to put her modeling career on ice while she was France's first lady.

    “I thought I was marrying a guy with a salary... I had big contracts and now nothing,” she is heard saying, adding that if Sarkozy went on to lose the election she at least could re-activate her career and start selling anti-wrinkle cream.

    French media have said dozens of hours of further material could emerge from recordings that date back to 2011, raising the specter of more damaging revelations in future.

    The potential for the affair to hurt Sarkozy grew after Marine Le Pen, leader of the anti-immigrant National Front,  said Buisson had a secret meeting with her father Jean-Marie, then FN leader, during the 2007 presidential vote.

    Separate revelations this month thickened the plot when it emerged that Sarkozy's phone was tapped by magistrates who are investigating allegations, denied by the ex-president, that late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi funded his 2007 election campaign.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora