Published: Wed, March 21, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Nicolas Sarkozy Arrested For Illegal Campaign Funding

Nicolas Sarkozy Arrested For Illegal Campaign Funding

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was placed in police custody on Tuesday, as part of an investigation into illegal financing of his 2007 election campaign.

French judicial procedure allows for investigators to hold a person for questioning for up to 48 hours, after which the magistrates must say whether they have grounds for turning a preliminary inquiry into a full investigation. It is not clear how long the questioning will last.

Politics were suspected of receiving illegal financial assistance for the presidential campaign of 2007 from the former owner of L'Oreal, Liliane Bettencourt.

If the allegations are true, it would mean that Sarkozy knowingly violated France's campaign finance laws, which in 2007 capped campaign funding at $28.8 million.

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The former French ruler is alleged to have accepted €50m from Muammar Gaddafi's regime - claims repeated by the late Libyan dictator's son and French businessman Ziad Takieddine.

Djouhri was returned to pre-trial detention in February after France issued a second warrant for his arrest, ahead of a hearing scheduled for 28 March.

Colonel Gaddafi was ousted from power during the fallout of the Arab Spring in October 2011 following North Atlantic Treaty Organisation bombardment of his convoy by French aircraft and captured by so-called "rebel fighters", dying in unconfirmed circumstances.

Also, in 2013, the Bordeaux prosecutor's office brought charges of corruption against Sarkozy.

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Sarkozy has dismissed the allegations as the claims of vindictive Libyan regime members furious over his participation in the US-led military intervention that ended Kadhafi's 41-year rule and led to his death.

French daily Le Monde in 2016 published in three successive publications "the existence of a vast criminal system, involving senior officials linked to Sarkozy".

Gaddafi's first visit to a Western leader in decades, which was accompanied by the signing of several business deals, came after Sarkozy helped get five Bulgarian nurses accused of infecting children with HIV released from jail in Libya.

It is not the first time that Sarkozy has faced legal troubles.

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