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Expatriate Games

Olivier Sarkozy might like the USA even more than his presidential brother.


America-loving French president Nicolas Sarkozy crossed the Atlantic last week to be wined and dined at the White House, address a joint session of Congress, and visit Mount Vernon. One thing he didn’t do was stop in New York to visit his younger half-brother and sister-in-law. Olivier Sarkozy, 38, is an investment-banking exec for UBS, and he lives with his wife, Charlotte, 37, a children’s-book author and freelance fashion writer, on the Upper East Side. “Ever since I met him ten years ago, Nicolas always told me he would be president,” says Charlotte, a native Parisian who is also editing the Louis Vuitton City Guide to New York. She and Olivier go out to society events, “but we don’t go out and socialize just to socialize. We are really boring people.” (She did, however, notice an uptick in invitations after her brother-in-law was elected president.) They have two children—enrolled, bien sûr, at the Lycée Français—and were married a decade ago by Nicolas, when he was mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine. Olivier—who goes by the Americanized nom de banque Oliver here—shares a father with Nicolas and has dual American and French citizenship. The brothers didn’t grow up together, but they became friends as adults; if banking business hadn’t interfered last week, Olivier would have gone to Washington to have breakfast with his brother. (While Nicolas is new pals with George Bush, records show Olivier and Charlotte gave $5,000 to John Kerry and the DNC in 2004.)

Charlotte was visiting France last month when Nicolas and Cécilia announced their divorce, and she was horrified by the press feeding frenzy. “It was her or him or both of them on the cover of every single magazine for ten days in a row,” she says. “They were really the first political couple in France. They were always compared to the Kennedys.” Her advice to Cécilia, who spent some time in New York during earlier tumult in her marriage and fled here, again, even as Nicolas was in D.C.: “It would be much better for her to live here. In France, it’s impossible. The press in France is not going to let her go. They’re going to follow every move she’s going to make. It’s going to be a nightmare.” But she hasn’t told Cécilia this yet. “I want to leave her alone right now, and I think I will wait a little bit and send her an e-mail.”

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