Sarkozy’s office denies heiress donation report

PARIS, July 6 (BestGrowthStock) – President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office
denied on Tuesday a media report that he had received a 150,000
euro ($201,300) cash donation from France’s richest woman for
his 2007 presidential election campaign.

A former accountant who worked for Liliane Bettencourt, the
main shareholder in cosmetics giant L’Oreal, was quoted on
Tuesday as saying she gave Labour Minister Eric Woerth the
donation in cash.

An official in Sarkozy’s office, asked if the president had
received a cash payment, said: “That’s totally false.”

Asked whether Woerth, treasurer of Sarkozy’s campaign in
2007, had received such a donation, the official said: “That
seems unfounded but you must check with the treasurer of the
campaign.”

News website Mediapart, which last month reported secret
recordings of telephone conversations between Bettencourt and
her wealth manager, said it had exclusively interviewed a former
bookkeeper who said the billionairess and her late husband had
regularly given cash donations to conservative politicians.

“She cites two names, Eric Woerth, the current labour
minister, who has long been treasurer of the UMP party, and she
recounts how in March 2007 she gave him cash — so much that she
had to go and fetch some in Switzerland — altogether 150,000
euros, and she gave it to him for Nicolas Sarkozy,” Mediapart
editor Edwy Plenel told France Inter radio.

Woerth, whose wife worked for Bettencourt’s wealth manager
until she resigned last month, has denied any wrongdoing and
rejected any conflict of interest between his dual roles as
treasurer of the ruling party and budget minister until March.

A spokesman for Woerth was not immediately available for
comment.

Plenel did not disclose the name of the former accountant.
The story on Mediapart’s homepage identified her only as Claire
T.

A public prosecutor who reported suspicions of tax evasion
by Bettencourt to the budget ministry last year planned to open
an investigation into the suspected laundering of evasion
proceeds, his office said on Monday.

(reporting by Emmanuel Jarry and Thierry Leveque, writing by
Paul Taylor)

Sarkozy’s office denies heiress donation report