Sarkozy caught in heiress cash scandal

Sarkozy caught in heiress cash scandal

Nicolas Sarkozy. AFP

The French leader dismissed the charges as “smears” but he faces mounting calls from within his camp to make a stronger defence over the scandal engulfing the ruling party.

Two ministers have already resigned this week for spending public money on cigars and luxury jets and pressure is growing on Labour Minister Eric Woerth for his role in the funding that came from L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.

“I would love it so much if the country could excite itself over the big problems... rather than to get wrapped up in the first horror, a slander with only one goal, to smear with no basis in
reality,” Sarkozy said.

Sarkozy did not directly address the allegations, but instead called for voters to concentrate on health care, pension reform and the economic recovery.

Sarkozy’s approval ratings are at their lowest levels ever. New allegations have said that Woerth, the ruling UMP treasurer as well as a key minister, received 1,50,000 euros in cash from Bettencourt. Donations to politicians and their parties are strictly limited in France.

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