Princess Helene of Yugoslavia has been interviewed by the French newspaper, Le Monde, regarding her statement to the police about her estranged husband, Thierry Gaubert's actions.
She told the reporters that she met her husband in 1987 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, "where we both lived." She added that she and her husband, Thierry Gaubert, a former advisor to Nicokas Sarkozy, have been separated for five years.
The princess first met Sarkozy through her husband. He was mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine at the time, and Gaubert served as the project manager for communications for Sarkozy. Gaubert also worked in real estate.
Mayor Sarkozy married Gaubert and Princess Helene in 1988.
Princess Helene said that Sarkozy and her husband were very close. "We often invited him for dinner, for the weekend. He called my husband all the time. Thierry had become indispensable to Sarkozy."
In 1993, Nicolas Sarkozy asked Gaubert to become his Deputy Chief of Staff. For Helene, life became "more intense, with constant trips to Bercy. I was often at the ministry, especially for dinner."
During the 1995 presidential camapign, Gaubert made numerous trips to Switzerland to obtain cash.
Helene acknowledged that this was true. "Yes, he told me often, 'I'm going to Switzerland for money.' He went about it systematically, and would return via London to avoid custom checks at the Franco-Swiss border."
When did the trips begin and for how long, asked the reporter?
"It is difficult to say precisely. I am sure it started in the early 1990s. He went to Switzerland about every two months." Helene noted that he could not justify the trips, nor would he speak about the amount of money. He usually brought the money "back in small bags."
Helene also said that Gaubert told her that the money was given to Nicolas Bazire. But when asked if she made the connection with Balladur's presidential campaign, which was being run by Bazire.
"No, not at all. Of course, I found it a bit strange, but my husband replied: 'It's like that.' He told me he would explain to me later."
Did your husband cite other names. "No, only that of Nicolas Bazire," she said. She added that sometimes her husband went alone to Geneva for the money, and other times, he was accompanied by Ziad Takieddine."
She said she talked to police in September 8 because "I had been called! I was merely answering police questions. They showed me the documents proving that they already knew a lot. I discovered documents signed by my hand. I could not imagine that the documents were incriminating me. He used me to open accounts abroad. I realized that my husband had betrayed me. It was only at this hearing that I discovered the link with the financing of Balladur. I was really disgusted."
Helene also spoke of the pressure she had been under. "A lot of pressure and threats from my husband. It started after his house was searched in July. He expected me to be called by the police. Then he said, 'If you speak, you will not see your children. If I sink, you sink with me, because we are not divorced.' It became imperative that I talk about foreign accounts and remittances."
During her meeting with the police, Helene received a flood of text messages from Gaubert. And then on September 14, Gaubert called me, saying 'I have something to give you, come down, I am parked in the street.' Once in the car, he became angry, he was furious. 'What you told the cops, it seems you threw me? You're crazy, You're going to the asylum.' I understood he had very accurate information from my statement."