PARIS, March 6 Former French President Nicolas
Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni are to file a legal complaint
over secret audio recordings made of them by an adviser during
the 2012 election campaign, lawyers for the couple said on
Revelations that Patrick Buisson, part of Sarkozy's inner
circle, recorded hours of talks with the conservative leader and
his entourage have caused uproar in the opposition UMP party
weeks before local elections.
Sarkozy is expected by many to contest the 2017 presidential
election after his defeat by Francois Hollande two years ago.
"Mr Nicolas Sarkozy and Mrs Carla Bruni-Sarkozy cannot
accept that remarks made in private were recorded and published
without their consent," lawyers Thierry Herzog and Richard Malka
said in a statement.
"(They) have decided to prosecute, through an emergency
proceeding soon to be filed with the Paris Grand Instance Court,
the recording and publication of their conversations," they
"Protecting the secrecy of private conversations is ... one
of the founding principles of a democratic society."
Excerpts of the tapes were published this week in satirical
weekly Le Canard Enchaine and right-wing news site Atlantico.fr.
Buisson's lawyer, Gilles-William Goldnadel, said on Tuesday
the recordings were authentic. He said his client had made them
for historical research purposes and had not intended that they
be made public.
Breach of privacy in France carries a penalty of up to one
year in prison and 45,000 euros in fines.
In the published excerpts Sarkozy is heard discussing his
electoral strategy and a 2011 cabinet reshuffle, while Bruni is
recorded joking about how she had to put her modelling career on
ice while she was France's first lady.
"I thought I was marrying a guy with a salary ... I had big
contracts and now nothing," she is heard saying, adding that if
Sarkozy went on to lose the election she at least could
re-activate her career and start selling anti-wrinkle cream.
French media have said dozens of hours of further material
could emerge from recordings that date back to 2011.
Goldnadel said the recordings, which Buisson made using a
device in his pocket and later uploaded to his personal
computer, had been stolen from Buisson and that he would file a
complaint for theft against "persons unknown".
"There will be an investigation to determine exactly how
these recordings were taken," Goldnadel told BFM TV. He added
that his client thought he knew who had stolen them, but did not
(Reporting by Chine Labbe and Nicholas Vinocur; editing by Mark
John and Andrew Roche)