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Ex-French president in police custody, questioned over Libya funding probe

By
Sara Shayanian
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was questioned by police over allegations that he recieved millions in illegal campaign funding from Libya. File photo by Michel Euler/UPI
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was questioned by police over allegations that he recieved millions in illegal campaign funding from Libya. File photo by Michel Euler/UPI | License Photo

March 20 (UPI) -- France's ex-President, Nicolas Sarkozy, was questioned over allegations that he received millions in campaign funding from ex-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Investigators questioned Sarkozy, who served as France's rightwing president from 2007 to 2012, on Tuesday morning at a police station in Nanterre in northwest Paris.

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The questioning is part of a probe into whether or not Gaddafi and other Libyans helped to illegally finance Sarkozy's winning campaign in 2007.

Sarkozy, 63, has repeatedly denied the allegations, claiming there is a lack of credible evidence against him. He could be detained for up to 48 hours, after which he would have to appear in front of the judge who opened the investigation in 2013. The judge will then decide whether or not to call for a formal investigation against Sarkozy.

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Tuesday's questioning marks the first time Sarkozy was questioned by police over the allegations, which the ex-French leader has described as "grotesque."

Investigators are looking into claims that Gaddafi's regime gave Sarkozy 50 million euros for his 2007 campaign -- more than double the allowed amount of legal campaign funding.

French media website, Mediapart, published a document in 2012 that appeared to show Libyan secret services promising to give Sarkozy's campaign the euros in question.

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The former French president has already been ordered to stand trial in a separate matter concerning Sarkozy allegedly falsifying accounts to conceal his party spent about $20 million more than allowed in his 2012 re-election campaign.

Sarkozy denied that his party knew it was breaking campaign finance law during the campaign where he lost the presidency to Francois Hollande.

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