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France’s Sarkozy to face trial for corruption, influence peddling

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy will face trial over charges he misused his influence to secure leaked details of an inquiry into alleged irregularities in his 2007 election campaign, France’s financial prosecutor said Thursday.

Sarkozy’s lawyers said he would appeal the decision to send him to court, initially reported by the daily Le Monde.

The case came about after investigators used phone-taps to examine separate allegations that late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi funded Sarkozy’s campaign and began to suspect he had kept tabs on a separate case through a network of informants.

The development came just over a week after Sarkozy was told he was being formally treated as a suspect in the election campaign investigation.

Sarkozy was president from 2007 to 2012 but was defeated by Socialist Francois Hollande when he ran for re-election. He has since faced a series of investigations into alleged corruption, fraud, favoritism and campaign-funding irregularities.

Sarkozy’s lawyers had previously argued that magistrates investigating the alleged secret Libyan funding exceeded their powers and went on a “fishing expedition” by tapping his conversations with them between September 2013 and March 2014, breaching lawyer-client privilege.

Based on the intercepts, Sarkozy is accused of having discussed offering a promotion to a prosecutor in return for tip-offs on an investigation into accusations that his former party treasurer and others exploited the mental frailty of France’s richest woman, Liliane Bettencourt, to extract political donations in cash.



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