Seems the French legal system hasn’t incorporated Citizens United, and there are actual laws still in force against certain forms of political bribery, otherwise known as campaign contributions.
Like former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi before him, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is suddenly facing legal heat after his presidential immunity from prosecution expired 16 May, with his problem being campaign contributions from the heir to a famous French fortune.
Here’s some background via a 2009 Blood & Treasure post, beginning with a London Times story excerpt [behind paywall]:
L’Oréal, the French cosmetics giant, whose advertising campaigns proclaim “because you’re worth it”, was found guilty of racial discrimination for considering black, Arab and Asian women unworthy of selling its shampoo.
France’s highest court was told that the group had sought an all-white team of sales staff to promote Fructis Style, a haircare product made by Garnier, L’Oréal’s beauty division.
Some things don’t change. L’Oreal’s founder, Eugene Schueller, was also an early member – and major funder of – La Cagoule, a rightwing French terrorist outfit in the thirties. Schueller later went on to found the Social Revolutionary Movement, a pro-Nazi group which amongst other things bombed eight synagogues one night in October 1941. Other members went into the Milice, the Vichy paramilitaries. Some eventually wound up in the OAS.
Postwar, Schueller used his company as a kind of jobs laundry for collaborators, appointing wanted war criminals to foreign subsidiaries and finding posts in the French operation for less prominent Vichy figures, including a certain Francois Mitterand.Mitterand went on to bigger things, but L’Oreal had a number of French nazis hanging round in executive positions till the early nineties. It’s hard not to believe that this had a certain long term effect on the company’s culture.
Sarko and spouse were out of the country when the raids came
From Angelique Chrisafis of The Guardian:
French police have raided the home and offices of the former president Nicolas Sarkozy as part of an investigation into alleged illegal campaign-financing by France’s wealthiest woman.
Police searched the mansion rented by Carla Bruni in a chic gated community in the west of Paris early on Tuesday morning, where she and Sarkozy have lived since their marriage in 2008.
Detectives also searched the office of the legal firm where Sarkozy is a partner and the office he moved into after losing the presidential election to Socialist Francois Hollande in May.
A judge in Bordeaux is investigating whether brown envelopes of illegal cash were given to Sarkozy’s rightwing UMP party by France’s wealthiest woman, the frail and ageing L’Oreal heir, Liliane Bettencourt, during the election campaign in 2007.
Oh, and L’Oreal today? Here’s a February headline from the Jewish Chronicle Online:
How a quiet Jewish boy came
to head Nazi-tainted L’Oréal