French ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy to face corruption trial | News | DW | 29.03.2018
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French ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy to face corruption trial

The decision is the latest legal headache for the French former president. Sarkozy allegedly discussed giving a judge a luxury job in Monaco in exchange for details of an election campaign probe.

French former-President Nicolas Sarkozy is to be tried on charges of misusing his influence while president to get information about an official probe into his 2007 election campaign, French media reported on Thursday.

Based on recorded phone conversations from 2014, investigators accused Sarkozy of discussing a promotion for a judge in exchange for inside information on the campaign financing probe.

Read more: Nicolas Sarkozy: Life is 'living hell' since Libya funding accusations

Promotion to Monaco

That inquiry was examining allegations that Sarkozy's former party treasurer had illegally pressured France's richest woman, Liliane Bettencourt, for political donations prior to the 2007 presidential election.

Sarkozy, who served as president between 2007 and 2012, was cleared of any wrongdoing in that case in 2013.

François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy at a memorial service in Paris (Reuters/C. Hartmann)

Sarkozy lost a re-election in 2012 to François Hollande (left)

But prosecutors said Sarkozy had discussions with his lawyer, Thierry Herzog, during the probe about whether to offer judge Gilbert Azibert a job in Monaco on a top appeals court.

Herzog and Azibert are also to stand trial for their involvement in the case.

Read more: French ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy charged in campaign funding investigation

Appeal incoming

Sarkozy has dismissed any wrongdoing as the job was never offered.

Investigators said Sarkozy and Herzog only decided to drop the offer after they found out police had tapped their phones and heard about the plan.

Sarkozy's lawyers have said he will appeal the decision to send him to court. They argued that taping Sarkozy's conversations with his lawyer represented a breach of attorney-client privilege.

"He does not doubt that once again the truth will triumph," his lawyers said in a statement.

Read more: Nicolas Sarkozy corruption charges reveal France's loose campaign finance practices

Muammar Qaddafi at an African Union meeting (picture-alliance/ dpa)

Sarkozy is also under investigation for allegedly accepting donations from the late Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi

Yet another legal headache

Thursday's decision was the latest legal hitch for Sarkozy.

The 63-year-old was placed under investigation on March 22 for accepting millions of euros in illegal campaign donations from the former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Sarkozy has denied any wrongdoing in that case as well.

A decision is still pending on an appeal Sarkozy made last year in a third trial accusing him of illegal financing and spending in his 2012 campaign, which he lost to Socialist Francois Hollande.

Read more: Sarkozy to face trial over election fraud allegations

amp/sms (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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