French Connection III: Sarkozy's phone records eyed during coke smuggling probe

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy took umbrage Tuesday over his phone use being tracked in an investigation of cocaine smuggling.
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy took umbrage Tuesday over his phone use being tracked in an investigation of cocaine smuggling.

It seems as if no one is beyond the reach of law enforcement's phone surveillance, even the former president of France.

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy took umbrage Tuesday over his phone use being tracked during an investigation of cocaine smuggling criss-crossing the Atlantic – all with, Sarkozy said in an interview with Le Parisien, the permission of officials in French President Francois Hollande's government, according to the Globe and Mail.

Authorities were looking into a drug scheme involving two French pilots who were convicted of smuggling coke between the Dominican Republic to Saint Tropez and sentenced to 20 years in jail each. The two, who were arrested in the Punta Cana, DR airport in March 2013, were out free awaiting appeal when they disappeared last week only to resurface in France where they were arrested again on Monday.

French magistrates apparently tracked Sarkozy's phone usage because he had previously traveled on the same airline.

“What I want to know is what could justify an investigating magistrate taking such measures solely because I used the same airline,” Sarkozy was said to have told Le Parisienne. “What do they think I did – fly to Punta Cana with 700kg of cocaine? All this would be just laughable if it wasn't about a violation of legal principles that all French people support.”

Not too many years ago Sarkozy took a hard line on keeping tabs on internet activity and controlling which websites people were allowed to visit in an effort to prevent cyber-crime, specifically terrorism. 

In 2012 he proposed a drastic new approach: prison time for visiting “terrorist” websites. He was quoted by Reuters as saying: "From now on, any person who habitually consults websites that advocate terrorism, or that call for hatred and violence, will be criminally punished."

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