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France

French judges bugged Sarkozy's phone, report

Nicolas Sarkozy's lawyer, Thierry Herzog
Nicolas Sarkozy's lawyer, Thierry Herzog Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

French magistrates bugged the phones of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, his lawyer and two former ministers, Le Monde newspaper claimed on Friday. The news comes after raids on the lawyer's home and office in a new investigation into alleged influence-peddling.

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Magistrates investigating charges that Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign was partly financed by the late Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi ordered the bugging of Sarkozy's mobile phone, as well as those of two Sarkozy-era interior ministers, Claude Guéant and Brice Hotrefeux, according to Le Monde.

Background reading: Previous French scandals

Later, suspecting that Sarkozy had got wind of the bugging, judges Serge Tournaire and René Grouman, found he had another mobile, registered under a false name, and started listening on that as well.

When it emerged that he used that phone to call another mobile resgistered to an apparent pseudonym, they started listening in on that, finding that it was being used by Sarkozy's lawyer, Thierry Herzog.

Earlier this week police swooped on the homes and offices of Herzog and one of their own colleagues, Gilbert Azibert, who was promoted by Sarkozy in 2008.

According to Le Monde, they suspect Azibert of tipping Sarkozy and Herzog off about the bugs on their phones in exchange for their help in obtaining a desirable post in Monaco.

Herzog on Friday denied all the accusations and claimed that the case was politically motivated.

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