August 1, 2021

“Everything has been concealed from me”, says the ex-campaign director of Nicolas Sarkozy

There was a lot of talk of Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert, Monday, June 7, at the trial of Nicolas Sarkozy’s campaign accounts. This commune of the Loire, whose 15,000 inhabitants are called Pontrambertois – a diplomatic contraction of Pontois from Saint-Just and Rambertois, originating from Saint-Rambert – has a municipal hall, the Embarcadère. The debates did not make it possible to know whether it is located on the Saint-Just side or on the Saint-Rambert side. No matter: on March 8, 2012, the Embarcadère hosted a meeting of Nicolas Sarkozy. And Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert became Guillaume Lambert’s master stallion.

At the time, he was campaign manager for the presidential candidate. Today, he is prosecuted for “use of forgery”, “breach of trust” and “concealment” of this offense, “complicity in the illegal financing of electoral campaign” and “swindle”. He is accused of having participated in the makeup of the campaign accounts in order to conceal the exceeding of the legal ceiling – 42.8 million euros, or nearly double the 22.5 million authorized.

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Guillaume Lambert disputes everything. This appointment, he said in the preamble, he did not expect ” not at all “. Until then, the former sub-prefect, who had spent twelve years in the national navy, was chief of staff to the President of the Republic. This is ” by default “, he assures, that from mid-February 2012, he was responsible for coordinating the agenda of the Head of State with that of the candidate. His new functions place him at the heart of the presidential campaign machine. Every morning, he leads an agenda meeting – “We debrief, we share information between the campaign team and the UMP executives [le parti présidentiel devenu Les Républicains] ». And once a week, he chairs the group responsible for budgetary monitoring of electoral expenses.

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“Warning note”

Precisely, on March 7, on the eve of the meeting in Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert, the accountants sent him a “warning note” on the cost of the first public meetings of the candidate president. “The collection of the latest information relating to forecast expenditure, as well as the inclusion of expenditure incurred to date, show a total budgetary expenditure of 23,150,971 euros, an amount higher by 642,000 € than the legal ceiling of authorized expenditure” , they write. Accountants recommend “A strict limitation of expenditure”, a “Renegotiation of contracts” and an “ absolute ban on incurring any additional expenditure in relation to budgeted expenditure ”. This note, assures Guillaume Lambert, is immediately sent to Nicolas Sarkozy.

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