Sarkozy asked for Bettencourt donation, says ex-chauffeur
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A former driver to L’Oréal heiress Lilliane Bettencourt and her husband claims that French President Nicolas Sarkozy asked the pair for money during his electoral campaign, according to an interview published Monday by Mediapart.
Dominique Gautier, the Bettencourt’s driver between 1994 and 2004, said he learnt the secret from the couple's former housekeeper, Nicole Berger (now deceased) early in 2007.
"During a telephone conversation, she said that Mr Sarkozy had come looking for money from Mr and Mrs Bettencourt. It was just during the election campaign," he said.
Another former Bettencourt employee, accountant Claire Thibout, said in early July that her employer illegally gave Labour Minister Eric Woerth 150,000 euros in cash for Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign.
She also claimed that during her 12 years as an accountant and close confidante to the Bettencourt family she saw many politicians pass by their residence in the wealthy Parisian suburb of Neuilly to pick up cash envelopes. These included Sarkozy, who was then the city's mayor.
Sarkozy's entourage strongly denied her statements.
Ex-chauffer Gautier says in his interview that he said nothing about Sarkozy to the police because he feared he would be subjected to the repeated interrogations Thibout was subjected to.