Auditors say Sarkozy overshot 2012 campaign spending limit

Auditors say Sarkozy overshot 2012 campaign spending limit

PanARMENIAN.Net - Election auditors believe that French ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy overshot the legal spending limit during a failed bid to secure re-election, his campaign treasurer said on Friday, Dec 21, vowing to contest the estimate, according to Reuters.

Sarkozy, who has already faced questions over funding of his successful 2007 campaign, declared that spending on this year's bid for a second term fell slightly short of the legal limit, which is 22.509 million euros ($29.80 million).

Beyond any blemish for the former leader, who some in his camp would like to see run again in 2017, Sarkozy's conservative UMP party could lose out on millions of euros in state funding if financial penalties are imposed.

The national campaign financing watchdog, the CNCCFP, judged that meetings Sarkozy held before he officially declared himself in the running incurred costs that pushed him over the limit, according to Sarkozy's campaign treasurer Philippe Briand.

"I formally contest the CNCCFP's analysis and decisions," Briand said in a statement.

He said he would appeal the "unprecedented decision" in the Constitutional Council, which has the last word on approval of election finances.

In France, election funding is capped, large donations are banned and the state refunds spending. Sarkozy, who formally declared himself a re-election candidate in February, reported total spending of 21,339,664 euros, short of the 22,509,000 euro limit.

The CNCCFP declined to comment pending discussion of the matter at the Constitutional Council. News magazine L'Express said an overspend could potentially cost the UMP 11 million euros in forfeited state subsidies.

Sarkozy, who has stepped back from frontline politics since his May 6 defeat by Socialist Francois Hollande, has also come under scrutiny over funding of his 2007 election.

He has strenuously denied any wrongdoing and repeated that when questioned in November by investigators who are trying to establish whether there is anything to allegations that he may have got illicit funds back then from France's richest woman, L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.

 Top stories
"This is way over the top and unacceptable," said attorney Mohammed Zarie, who heads a rights center in Cairo.
David Cameron said the ban would be imposed on MPs that "have been pushing for the unacceptable steps that have been taken.
“All sides need to remember that compromise means getting less than 100%,” Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said.
The IAEA reported in 2008 that the laser facilities had been taken over by a private company that said it had no plans to enrich uranium.
Partner news
Soghomon Tehlirian assassinated Talaat Pasha on March 15, 1921

Operation Nemesis was a covert operation by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation carried out from 1920 to 1922, during which a number of former Ottoman political and military figures were assassinated for their role in the Armenian Genocide.