September 29, 2008 / 4:30 PM / 10 years ago

French court clears Sarkozy son in scooter case

PARIS (Reuters) - A French court on Monday cleared one of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s sons of fleeing the scene of an accident involving his scooter.

Jean Sarkozy, son of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, attends the summer meeting of the UMP political Party in Royan, southwestern France September 6, 2008. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Jean Sarkozy, the president’s 22-year-old second son, was accused of damaging a BMW with his scooter on the Place de la Concorde square in central Paris in 2005 and leaving the scene.

Jean Sarkozy has always denied the incident happened.

The plaintiff M’Hamed Bellouti, who has called himself a supporter of Sarkozy’s Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), was seeking some 260 euros ($376) for repairs to his car and 4,000 euros in damages.

The court ordered Bellouti to pay 2,000 euros in damages.

“Justice is the same for everyone ... you cannot make reckless allegations,” said Thierry Herzog, Jean Sarkozy’s lawyer.

Bellouti said Jean Sarkozy had been treated favorably. “I knew the legal system was unfair, but to be fined for wasting court time is surreal,” he said.

He has said the police did not follow up on the accident and that three letters addressed to Jean Sarkozy by his insurance company were unanswered.

Jean Sarkozy, who married a member of the family that founded one of France’s biggest retailers earlier this month, has launched his own political career.

A law student, he was elected this year to the post of local councilor in the wealthy Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine where his father had been mayor.

Reporting by Thierry Leveque; writing by Anna Willard; editing by Avril Ormsby

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