O ex-presidente da França, Nicolas Sarkozy
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been questioned over claims his 2007 election campaign received illegal donations from France’s richest woman. It is the first time that Sarkozy has been questioned since losing presidential immunity. He denies any wrongdoing.
Reportagem: Christian Fraser
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He was the mayor of the wealthiest suburb in Paris. It gave him access to the country’s richest woman. And, over the years, Mr Sarkozy had forged a close friendship with Liliane Bettencourt. He was, said staff, a regular visitor to the family home in Neuilly.
But the allegation is that in the final few months of the 2007 election, Mr Sarkozy took advantage of the ageing L’Oreal heiress, persuading her to part with huge amounts of money to help bankroll his bid for the presidency. An accountant who worked for Ms Bettencourt claims tens of thousands of euros were handed over to his campaign manager Eric Woerth; and, on a separate occasion, Mr Sarkozy came in person, she said, to “receive his envelope” stuffed with cash.
The former President has repeatedly denied the allegations, but, on the orders of the judge, his office and home were raided in July. Today, one poll suggested the majority of French people would prefer Mr Sarkozy to return and lead his fractured party. Certainly, he harbours those ambitions, but his chances of a return could yet be poisoned by the inquiry he’s facing.
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suburb – an area on the edge of a large town where people live (subúrbio, uma área residencial na periferia de uma grande cidade)
forged a close friendship – form or make a close friendship (criar ou manter uma amizade próxima)
took advantage of – used for personal benefit, especially something or someone in a weaker position (usou em benefício próprio, levou vantagem de algo ou alguém em posição inferior)
heiress – a woman who will receive a money, property or a title when the person who owns it dies (herdeira, uma mulher que vai receber dinheiro, bens ou proriedades, após a morte do proprietário)
bankroll – support financially; provide the money for (financiar, manter financeiramente, fornecer o dinheiro necessário)
handed over – given (dado)
stuffed – completely filled (cheio, preenchido completamente)
raided – entered (a property) by force (dar uma batida, revistar, entrar à força numa propriedade)
fractured – broken (quebrado, partido)
harbours those ambitions – thinks about or holds those ambitions, usually for a long time (pensa ou mantém uma certa ambição ou desejo por longo tempo)