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French ex-president Sarkozy in custody over campaign funding


Police are questioning former French President Nicolas Sarkozy over irregularities in his 2007 election campaign funding. Sarkozy has been under investigation since 2013 over allegations he received funds from Libya.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was in police custody on Tuesday, where he was being questioned as part of a probe into the funding of his 2007 election campaign, a French judiciary official said. Sarkozy has been under investigation since 2013 over claims that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafis regime secretly gave him €50 million ($61.7 million) for the 2007 campaign. The sum is more than double the legal campaign funding limit. The payments would also violate French rules against foreign financing. 

It is the first time Sarkozy has been questioned in the inquiry and his questioning takes place weeks after a former associate, Alexandre Djouhri, was arrested in London and later released on bail. Sarkozy denies allegations Sarkozy, who served as French president from 2007-2012, has denied allegations he received funding from Libyan regime. In 2016, following a fresh wave of Libyan funding allegations, his lawyer Thierry Herzog told news agency Reuters that, "Once more, and always before an election, Mediapart is trying to taint Nicolas Sarkozy with allegations [that are] as untrue today as they were yesterday." Ahead of the 2017 presidential election, investigative website Mediapart published a video that depicted French-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine saying he had delivered suitcases containing €5 million euros ($5.4 million) in cash to Sarkozy and his former chief of staff in 2007. 

law/rt (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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