Paris: Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has lost his final bid to avoid a trial on charges of corruption and influence peddling, and will likely have to appear in court in the coming months, sources close to the case said Wednesday. The country’s Court of Cassation, which rules on questions of law, ruled Tuesday that a trial was justified for Sarkozy as well as his lawyer Thierry Herzog and a former judge, Gilbert Azibert. That means a trial will now go ahead, according to a source close to the case and one of the defence lawyers. Sarkozy’s lawyers were not immediately available for comment. Also Read – Merkel warns UK Brexit deal ‘unlikely’ without compromise: LondonThe influence-peddling case centres on conversations between Herzog and Azibert that were tapped by investigators looking into claims that Sarkozy accepted illicit payments from the L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt for his 2007 presidential campaign. They suspect Sarkozy and his lawyer were seeking information on developments in the case, with Sarkozy offering Azibert a plum job in Monaco in exchange. The inquiry also revealed that Sarkozy and Herzog often communicated via cellphones obtained under false identities — with Sarkozy using the name Paul Bismuth. Also Read – India, China should jointly uphold peace and stability, resolve disputes through dialogues: Chinese ambassadorHe was cleared over the Bettencourt allegations in 2013, and has argued that Azibert never got the Monaco job, meaning he should not have to face trial. But investigators believe the deal fell through because Sarkozy and his lawyer learned their phones were being tapped. In 2014, Sarkozy became the first former French president to be taken into police custody during a preliminary stage of the inquiry. Sarkozy is not the first ex-president to be prosecuted — his predecessor Jacques Chirac was given a two-year suspended sentence in 2011 for embezzlement and misuse of public funds during his time as mayor of Paris. But he has been dogged by legal investigations since failing in his 2012 re-election bid. Last month a top court rejected an appeal to avoid another trial, involving charges of illicit financing for the 2012 campaign. Prosecutors claim Sarkozy spent nearly 43 million euros (USD 48 million) on his lavish re-election bid — almost double the legal limit of 22.5 million euros — using fake invoices. Sarkozy has denounced the charges, saying he was unaware of the fraud by executives at the public relations firm Bygmalion, who are also among a total of 13 people likely to face trial.
TORONTO — Two Canadian real-estate trusts are teaming up with a 50-50 partnership that will redevelop or intensify some of their properties in downtown areas of major cities, starting with two projects in Toronto.RioCan Real Estate and Allied Properties say they will work together to satisfy the growing demand for mixed-use properties in Canadian cities.Riocan has typically focused on intensifying retail properties, while Allied has specialized in office spaces.The companies say there is a trend toward living, working and playing in the inner-city.They’ll begin with two redevelopments in downtown Toronto, one near College Street and Manning Avenue and the other on King Street West at Portland Street.They plan to create a mixed-use office, retail and residential complex at each site.The one on College Street complex is expected to have 125,000 square feet of gross floor area.The other complex, which will have frontage on King, Portland and Adelaide Streets, will have approximately 400,000 square feet of gross floor area.The companies say these ventures are just the start of a collaboration that they plan to continue in other major Canadian cities.Once the projects are complete, RioCan will act as property manager for the retail portions, while Allied will serve as property manager for the office portions.Edward Sonshine, CEO of RioCan, said the combination of the properties “will create exceptional value creation opportunities for both RioCan and Allied’s unitholders.”