Sarkozy, Gaddafi, and Passive Corruption

EuroNews reports today that

PARIS (Reuters) – Judges in France placed former French president Nicolas Sarkozy under formal investigation on Wednesday over allegations of illegal campaign financing, a judicial source said.

Sarkozy was released from under judicial supervision after two days of questioning over allegations that his 2007 election campaign received funding from the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, the source said.

He is being investigated for illicit campaign financing, misappropriation of Libyan public funds and passive corruption, the source said confirming a report in Le Monde newspaper.

I wondered what passive corruption was – perhaps it meant not speaking up when something that is obviously intended as a bribe is given as a gift.

The Lexology website describes how the Anti-corruption Law on Transparency, the Fight against Corruption and the Modernisation of the Economy (the Sapin II Law) introduced in 2016, operates:

The Criminal Code distinguishes between active and passive corruption:

Articles 433-1 and following of the Criminal Code criminalise active corruption when a person, either directly or indirectly, unlawfully induces or attempts to induce a public official to accept a bribe by proffering an offer, promise, donation, gift or reward.
Articles 432-11 and following punish passive corruption, which is characterised as when a public official, either directly or indirectly, solicits a bribe by requesting or accepting without right any offer, promise, donation, gift and advantage by another person.

It seems to me that 432-11 must be hard to prosecute. What is to distinguish a donation or a gift of support from a bribe if there is no concomitant promise?

I see some of the wilder accusations are that Sarkozy had Gaddafi killed to stop him revealing the connection.

Rectangles Of Light Spoiling The Show

In Saint Petersburg last summer we went to a performance of Cossack dancing. A woman in the row in front of us filmed the whole show through her phone.

We asked her to put the thing away because the little dancing light of the screen on her phone was distracting. She shouted back that she had bought the video, so she wasn’t doing anything she shouldn’t.

She never saw the live show, she saw it on ‘TV’ as it were – through her phone.

Scanning the audience in the semi-darkness there were little rectangles of light dotted here and there – people filming on their phones.