Mr Sarkozy is being questioned as part of an investigation into “irregularities” in election campaign financing, a French court source told Reuters.
Bitcoin prices were reeling on Thursday, following reports that South Korea’s government plans to ban cryptocurrency trading.
South Korea’s Justice Minister Park Sang-ki said the government was preparing a bill to ban trading of the virtual currency on domestic exchanges, Reuters reported.
“There are great concerns regarding virtual currencies and the justice ministry is basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges,” Park said told a news conference, according to Reuters.
But, after bitcoin collapsed, a few hours later South Korea’s presidential office said a ban on the country’s virtual coin exchanges had not yet been finalized, though it was one of the measures being considered.w
In South Korea, police and tax authorities raided local exchanges on alleged tax evasion, Reuters reported.
Government bodies around the world have been clamping down on bitcoin in some form. Last weekend, Bloomberg reported that Chinese authorities had outlined proposals to discourage bitcoin mining. Bitcoin miners are prevalent in China due to low operational costs.
“It’s going to be a nightmare for people who are worried about doing the right thing,” Andrew Schaefer, a federally licensed tax expert in Florida who represents taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service, said to WaPo. At stake this year could be tens of billions in profit and perhaps more, Schaefer said, judging by the surge of interest in bitcoin. A significant chunk of that could be subject to federal and state taxes based on how many people sold their assets.
Alexander Nix, CEO of Cambridge Analytica has been Suspended by Board
Alexander Nix, the CEO of Cambridge Analytica, the firm at the heart of the data-mining scandal, has been suspended.
The company said in a statement: “The board of Cambridge Analytica has announced today that it has suspended CEO Alexander Nix with immediate effect pending a full, independent investigation.
“In the view of the board, Mr Nix’s recent comments secretly recorded by Channel 4 and other allegations do not represent the values or operations of the firm and his suspension reflects the seriousness with which we view this violation.”
Cambridge Analytica said its chief data officer Alexander Tayler had been appointed acting chief executive while an investigation was carried out by Julian Malins QC whose findings they would “share publicly in due course”.
“The board will be monitoring the situation closely, working closely with Dr Tayler, to ensure that Cambridge Analytica, in all of its operations, represents the firm’s values and delivers the highest-quality service to its clients.”
Ex-French president Nicolas Sarkozy arrested over campaign financing
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy is being held by police in connection to alleged campaign funding from late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
The amount would be more than double the legal spending limit in French elections at that time, which was €21m.
Alleged payments would also violate French laws on foreign financing and declaring the source of campaign funds.
Mr Sarkozy and his campaign manager have repeatedly denied accepting money from Libya.
According to Le Monde, this is the first time Mr Sarkozy has been questioned in relation to this investigation, which was opened in April 2013.
He can be held for up to 48 hours and presented to a magistrates’ court for indictment if police seek charges.
Mr Sarkozy has already been ordered to stand trial in a separate case, concerning the financing of his 2012 re-election campaign, when he lost to Francois Hollande.
In March 2011, Saif al Islam Gaddafi, the late dictator’s son, told Euronews: “Sarkozy has to give back the money he accepted from Libya to finance his electoral campaign. We financed his campaign and we have the proof…
“The first thing we’re demanding is that this clown gives back the money to the Libyan people.”
Netanyahu Aide Turns State Witness Against Him
An ex-aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has signed a state witness deal in a corruption probe linked to his former boss, Israeli media reported Monday, dealing a new setback to the premier.
News of the agreement broke ahead of Netanyahu’s meeting with US President Donald Trump at the White House later Monday.
The widely reported agreement between Israeli authorities and Nir Hefetz, a former spokesman for the Netanyahu family, comes as corruption investigations into the prime minister intensify.
Israeli police provided no details on the reported agreement. Hefetz would be the third Netanyahu associate to sign a state witness deal in recent months.
An aide to Netanyahu immediately denounced the reports and proclaimed the long-serving prime minister’s innocence.
“When there’s something there, it doesn’t take even one state witness,” the aide said.
“And now, even a thousand state witnesses will not help.”
On Sunday, an Israeli court released Hefetz and telecoms mogul Shaul Elovitch and put them under house arrest after 14 days in custody.
Hefetz is alleged to have acted as a messenger between Netanyahu, Elovitch’s telecoms group Bezeq and news website Walla!, media reports say.
Police suspect Bezeq was given regulatory breaks in return for Netanyahu receiving positive coverage on Walla!, a news website owned by the telecoms group.
Hefetz is also suspected of trying to bribe a retired judge to block a probe into the prime minister’s wife, Sara Netanyahu, over alleged misuse of public funds, according to the reports.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Hefetz had agreed to hand over recordings of Netanyahu and his wife as part of the state witness deal.
Last month, Israeli police recommended Netanyahu’s indictment on two other cases of alleged bribery. The attorney general is now considering how to move forward in those cases.
In one case, Netanyahu and family members are suspected of receiving one million shekels ($285,000, 230,000 euros) in gifts, including luxury cigars, champagne and jewellery, from wealthy figures in exchange for financial or personal favours.
In the other case, investigators suspect the premier of trying to reach an agreement with the owner of Yediot Aharonot newspaper for more favourable coverage.
Israeli media reported that Hefetz could also provide testimony in those two investigations.
The building investigations into Netanyahu’s affairs have raised questions over whether the 68-year-old will eventually have to step down.
He has been prime minister for a total of around 12 years.
The probes have also led to speculation in the Israeli media that he may opt for early elections in the coming months in a bid to bolster his standing before a decision on indictments is made.