Officials deny nepotism claims about Sarkozy's son

AP News
Posted: Nov 10, 2009 11:50 AM

French officials have denied reports suggesting that President Nicolas Sarkozy's office used its clout to try to help one of his sons win a grant for hip-hop music projects.

The allegations about Pierre Sarkozy _ the president's oldest son, a rap producer _ are the latest claims of nepotism to target the president's family, following a recent scandal involving middle son Jean. Both are in their 20s.

A technology and culture Web site, Electron Libre, ran an article claiming that Sarkozy's office put pressure on the SCPP, a society of music producers, after it turned down a grant request from Minds Corporation, a company Pierre Sarkozy is affiliated with.

Officials in Nicolas Sarkozy's office did not immediately return calls seeking comment Tuesday.

The SCPP said it received a call from a presidential aide, Eric Garandeau, who wanted to find out why the grant request was turned down. Marc Guez, the SCPP's director, stressed Monday that Garandeau did not put any pressure on the group to award a grant.

The SCPP did not change its decision after the call from Sarkozy's office.

Last month, a public outcry forced Jean Sarkozy, an undergraduate law student and local politician, to drop his bid to run the board of the organization overseeing France's most important business district. Instead he ran for a seat on the board and won. The president wrote on Facebook in late October that he was proud of his son for his "wise and courageous decision."

The spokesman for Sarkozy's UMP party, Frederic Lefebvre, said members of Sarkozy's family are being systematically targeted for "low blows."

"I imagine this won't stop there, and next time it will be the (family) dog," he said.