French news website Atlantico has been ordered by a Paris court to remove the recordings of secretly taped conversations of Nicolas Sarkozy during his time as president.
Judges also sentenced Nicolas Sarkozy’s former aide, Patrick Buisson, to pay damages for making the recordings, some of which involved the former president’s wife Carla Bruni.
Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni took legal action after the audio appeared on Atlantico‘s website.
The website said it already taken down files featuring Carla Bruni because she was not a politician.
The so-called Sarkoleaks scandal, which broke in early March, caused turmoil in Nicolas Sarkozy’s party, the opposition centre-right UMP.
Although embarrassing, the transcripts were mostly harmless and contained no political bombshells.
On Friday, the court in Paris ordered Atlantico to immediately remove the files or face daily fines.
The court also ordered Patrick Buisson, 64, to pay 10,000 euros ($13,900) in damages to Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni. Lawyers for the couple welcomed the ruling.
A highly controversial figure whose political origins lie on the far-right, Patrick Buisson was credited with engineering Nicolas Sarkozy’s election win seven years ago by pushing him to toughen his stance on immigration and crime, correspondents say.
At the trial, it emerged that Patrick Buisson had recorded hundreds of hours of conversations, using a dictaphone kept in his pocket, during Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007-2012 term.
Patrick Buisson’s lawyer argued in court the tapes had been made to help him to keep a proper record of all discussions with Nicolas Sarkozy and other officials.
In the recordings, Nicolas Sarkozy is heard discussing confidential affairs of state but also sharing private chats with his wife, Carla Bruni.
At one point, Carla Bruni jokes about having to put her modeling career on hold while she was first lady.
“I thought I was marrying a guy with a salary,” she is heard saying.
“I had big contracts and now nothing.”
The leaks also contain excerpts in which top officials boast of their influence over Nicolas Sarkozy and express scorn over his wife’s presence at meetings at the Elysee.
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