The former French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and his wife, Carla Bruni, are suing for breach of privacy after conversations recorded by a close political adviser were made public .
Mr Sarkozy was said to be upset and disappointed after the tapes made by Patrick Buisson, a controversial aide who persuaded the former leader to move further to the right during his failed 2012 re-election campaign, were published by a satirical magazine.
Lawyers for the former French leader said they will seek an injunction to stop more recordings being published.
The tapes are more embarrassingly banal than damaging. In one, Mr Sarkozy is heard joking that he is a “kept man” after marrying the wealthy supermodel-turned-singer Bruni, while she complains that her status as first lady is stopping her doing lucrative advertising campaigns for “anti-wrinkle creams”.
“Julia Roberts (44), Sharon Stone (52), Julianne Moore (53): they all get huge contracts, but I can’t accept them right now. It’s not the done thing,” she is heard saying.
“I’ve turned you into a kept man . . . and there I was thinking I’d married a guy with a salary.”
“I got rich by getting married,” Mr Sarkozy replies.
In other tapes, advisers remark on the unhelpful presence of Ms Bruni at meetings to discuss plans for a cabinet reshuffle, while Sarkozy describes some of his colleagues as “nuls” (idiots). The tapes were made in 2011, a year before Mr Sarkozy lost the presidential election to François Hollande. They were published in the weekly paper the Canard Enchaine on Wednesday.
Mr Buisson has denied leaking them and is also taking legal action, claiming they were stolen and used illegally.
His lawyer, Gilles-William Goldnadel, denied claims that Mr Buisson had secretly recorded Mr Sarkozy and Ms Bruni with a dictaphone in his pocket during meetings, and insisted that the former president knew he was being recorded.
Mr Goldnadel denied that Buisson had betrayed Mr Sarkozy and insisted the published tapes had been “stolen and put to extravagant and perverse use”.
– ( Guardian service)