France

Sarkozy calls journalists paedophiles

Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

“See you tomorrow, paedophile friends!” was French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s surprising farewell to reporters at a briefing during the Lisbon Nato conference Friday. Sarkozy lashed out at journalists when questioned about alleged kickbacks for submarine sales to Pakistan in 1995.

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In remarks at an informal briefing which hit the web Monday, Sarkozy called questions on the so-called “Karachigate” scandal crazy.

Infuriated by allegations that the 1995 presidential campaign of Edouard Balladur, for which he was spokesperson, benefited from a share of bribes paid to encourage the sales, Sarkozy accused the media of reporting the charges without having proof.

Former defence minister Charles Millon last week claimed that he was absolutely convinced that bribes were paid.

“Not a single one of you believes that I organise kickbacks for submarines in Pakistan. It’s incredible and it gets on television,” Sarkozy declared in a 10-minute outburst at Friday’s briefing.

Turning to a journalist, he continued, “You, I’ve got nothing against you. Apparently, you’re a paedophile [...] Who told me? I’m absolutely convinced […] Can you explain yourself?”

The briefing was recorded on the internal recording system of the summit, according to L’Express magazine, which says that presidential aides insisted that the tapes be wiped on the grounds that the briefing was off the record.

The Elysée presidential palace denies that Sarkozy made the alleged comments.

 

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