French magistrates question Sarkozy over political financing

Paris, Feb 16 (IANS) France’s investigating magistrates on Tuesday questioned former French president Nicolas Sarkozy over alleged political financing offences during his 2012 election campaign.

The leader of the centre-right opposition party could henceforth either be placed under a formal investigation or be declared a simple witness, Xinhua reported.

About 13 people, including main figures in 2012 campaign, have already been placed under investigation for alleged overspending during the election campaign.

Sarkozy, who is eyeing the 2017 presidential election, had repeatedly denied knowledge of false accounting.

In his book published in January, he wrote: “I swear it is the strict truth that I knew nothing about this company till the scandal broke out.”

The former head of state has been in a series of investigations over corruption, including the Bettencourt affair in which he was charged with taking financial advantage of the elderly French billionaire, Liliane Bettencourt, the heiress of the L’Oreal group.

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