Former president Nicolas Sarkozy ordered to face trial over 2012 election funds

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy
Author

08 February, 2017

Nicolas Sarkozy, the former French president, has been ordered to stand trial on charges that he spent €22 million more than the legal limit on financing his unsuccessful 2012 re-election campaign.

Some of the employees at Bygmalion already faced charges and they admitted they knew all along about the excess spending.

An investigating magistrate ordered Sarkozy on February 3 to stand trial on charges of illegal financing of an election campaign, according to the judicial official.

France sets limits on campaign spending, and it is alleged the firm Bygmalion invoiced Sarkozy's party rather than the campaign, allowing his party to exceed the limit.

Sarkozy also lost an attempt to run again for France's presidential elections later this year.

However, Mr Sarkozy's lawyer, Thierry Herzog, has said he will launch an appeal against the trial order, because only one of the two judges handling the case signed the order.

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Sarkozy, 62, who served as the country's leader from 2007 to 2012, has been dogged by accusations that his political party falsified business records to hide his spending of campaign funds, the BBC reported Tuesday.

During the 2012 campaign, when opinion polls showed that support for Mr Sarkozy was failing, he turned his campaign rallies into US-style extravaganzas with special effects and multiple giant screens.

The order is the latest in a recent series of financial scandals which have surrounded French politics.

Francois Fillon, who is the party's candidate in the spring presidential election, is facing questions into whether well-paid political jobs he gave his wife, son and daughter were genuine.

Former leader Jacques Chirac was given a two-year suspended prison sentence in 2011 for diverting public funds and abusing public trust.

If Sarkozy faces trial, he will be the second French president to do so since 1958.


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