French weekly magazines review 8 June 2014
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy shares the limelight with the D-Day veterans in the wake of an orchestrated campaign by cronies urging him to come to the rescue of the opposition UMP party facing disintegration after the Bygmalion election funding scandal.
Bygmalion is an events-PR company whose manager broke down in tears on television as he confessed that invoices for Sarkozy's 2012 election campaign were fraudulently billed as party expenses. According to a lawyer for the company, the amount billed to the UMP that should have been charged to Sarkozy's campaign amounted to more than 10 million euros The explosive revelations on television forced the resignation of UMP leader Jean-Francois Copé.
Le Nouvel Observateur believes the scheming for Sarkozy’s return at the helm of the Centre-Right party is an attempt to shield him from invoice forgery scandal. The left-leaning journal doubts he ignored a system put in place to ensure his re-election. Sarkozy it claims set no limit to his crazy ambition to become the most powerful, the greatest and the smartest of all.
L’Express predicts a nasty fight for the UMP leadership and invites the gladiators Jean Francois Cope, ex-premiers Alain Juppé and Francois Fillon and now Sarkozy advised not to leave their daggers in the dressing room. It regrets that they will probably kill each other for nothing, the UMP having remained for two years an empty vessel without a leader and with no ideas. L’Express doubts that the party is ready to accept Sarkozy as its leader when he is likely to be probed on his 2012 re-election campaign accounts
Le Point met the man at the centre of the Bygmalion affair, Jérôme Lavrilleux. He co-founded the company after stepping down as chief of cabinet to Jean-Francois Copé, and the bridge between his boss and Nicolas Sarkozy.
Lavrilleux recently elected Member of the European Parliament is no longer the tail wagging dog he was. Le Point was taken aback, by his blunt remarks about having a sense of humour, not one of self sacrifice. Lavrilleux adopts a sarcastic tone when he pointed out the Bygmalion affair will never get to Sarkozy’s level as their job is to ensure that nothing ever gets close to him”.
This week’s Marianne expresses disgust at a string of scandals involving a number of so-called inconsiderate: the Bygmalion affair, a 10-billion fine slapped on BNP Paribas bank for violating US sanctions on Cuba and Sudan.
Marianne also reports that the French industrial giant Alstom is facing prosecution in Brazil for active corruption and money laundering over secret accounts it opened in the Latin American country to bankroll civil servants.
Another high-profile scam raised by Marianne is a possible French connection to the Qatar-FIFA affair. This is in the wake of revelations by Britain's the Daily Telegraph that European Football chief Michel Platini attended a secret meeting with Qatar’s former top football official Mohammed bin Hammam, accused of paying some 3.6 million euros from slush funds to selected voters during the 2022 bidding process Hammam has since been banned for life by FIFA for violating its code of ethics.
Le Nouvel Observateur unravels some of the last mysteries of D-Day in a 14-page supplement. The document is packed with historical notes and illustrated profiles of the actors and heroes of the Normandy landings.
Le Point’s cover page story is all about 6 June, 1944, the day of the heroes backed by historical accounts about the destinies, exploits and tragedies of the D-Day architects by renowned French historians such as Francois Kersaudy who authored the biographies of leaders such as Winston Churchill, Adolph Hitler and Nazi Field Marshall Hermann Göring.