Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday angrily rejected allegations of corruption that have threatened his political career, in his first public reaction to a phone-tap scandal that has gripped France.
"I think it is now my duty to break... (my) silence. If I do this, it is because the sacred principles of our Republic are trampled on with unheard of violence and with an unprecedented absence of qualms," the 59-year-old wrote in the Le Figaro daily.
Sarkozy has been implicated in a series of corruption cases, culminating with revelations in the press this month that he allegedly attempted to pervert the course of justice -- information reportedly gleaned from excerpts of tapped phone conversations with his lawyer.
"Who handed over these documents when no lawyer has access to the procedure? The only people who hold (the documents) are judges or policemen... Are they above laws and judicial secrecy?" he asked.
He then threw doubt on claims by the justice and interior ministers that they did not know about the phone taps. "Who are we kidding?"
Sarkozy also pointed to other corruption scandals that he is allegedly involved in, rejecting them and picking holes in the cases.