London: French President Nicolas Sarkozy,
who is known for his mercurial nature, has lost his temper and
branded a group journalists "paedophiles" for quizzing him
over a corruption scandal.
In a furious off-the-record exchange at the NATO summit
in Lisbon last week, the French President targeted a reporter
who asked him a specific question about the `Karachigate`
scandal, which threatens to engulf him personally.
Dismissing the allegations as "crazy", Sarkozy angrily
told the reporter: "You talk rubbish, you verify nothing."
Microphones at the off-the-record briefing recorded him
going on: "You are a paedophile, I`m deeply convinced."
"I`ve seen the secret services but I won`t tell you which
ones. I`ve seen someone but I won`t tell you who. But I`m
deeply convinced that you`re a paedophile!"
His aim was apparently to show how easy it was to make
unfounded allegations against public figures, the Daily Mail
The outburst occurred during a briefing, which aides said
was not to be reported, before last Friday`s NATO summit in
Officials are said to have pressured NATO to wipe an
internal recording of the outburst, but it was yesterday
leaked by a French magazine.
As Sarkozy left the room, his parting words to the group
of reporters were allegedly: "Until tomorrow, my paedophile
The president`s bizarre reaction was prompted by
accusations that money was siphoned from the 1994 sale of
submarines to Pakistan into the election campaign fund of then
Prime Minister Edouard Balladur. Sarkozy was budget minister
and Balladur`s campaign spokesman at the time.
Sarkozy, who will give evidence to a judge this week in
connection with the allegations, denies the allegations.
But, he fears the claims could derail his 2012
The French President has a history of public outbursts,
most famously telling a farmer at an agricultural show in 2008
to "Go away, you bloody idiot" after he refused to shake the
president`s hand. He had also insulted a Breton fisherman
during a demonstration recently.
But each time, his rages have contributed to a drop in
opinion polls and outrage at his "unpresidential" demeanour.