Sarkozy's son faces charges over hit-and-run incident
Published 12/09/2007 | 09:18
President Nicolas Sarkozy's son Jean faces a hit-and-run charge after failing to respond to insurance claims following a scooter accident two years ago.
A motorist claims that Jean Sarkozy, 22, ran into the back of his car in the Place de la Concorde, made an obscene hand gesture and then rode away.
M'Hamed Bellouti alleges that the Paris police obstructed his efforts to trace the scooter's owner after they discovered that he was the son of the interior minister and future president.
This year, the scooter was stolen. Police launched a laborious investigation, including studying DNA evidence. The thief was arrested within 10 days.
At a hearing yesterday, M. Sarkozy, one of two sons from the President's first marriage, was ordered to appear in court on 4 December. He is accused of failing to stop after an accident, failing to control his vehicle and damaging property.
M. Bellouti is claiming €260 (£176) for a damaged rear bumper, and €4,000 (£2,718) further damages and interest for the delay in the settlement of his claim.
M. Bellouti took the number of the scooter as it drove away. He contacted the police who said they would trace the owner. Ten months later, they had still not found the driver.
Insurers took up the case and immediately traced the scooter's owner. They sent the young M. Sarkozy five letters. He failed to reply.
M. Bellouti said: "I am not letting this go on principle. When his scooter was stolen, the police zealously sought the thief. When he bashed into my car, the zeal disappeared."
The Elysée Palace refused to comment.
The case is a double embarrassment for the President. Two of his pet themes are road safety and the alleged decline in moral responsibility of French youth.