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French ex-president Sarkozy could be tried in campaign graft case

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(FILES) This file photo taken on July 9, 2016 shows Former French president and head of the right-wing opposition party "Les Republicains" (The Republicans) Nicolas Sarkozy looking on during a meeting with farmers in Kriegsheim, eastern France. Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who is making a fresh bid for election next year, could face trial over alleged illegal funding of his failed 2012 campaign, a source in the investigation said on September 5, 2016. "Prosecutors are calling for all of those charged to be tried," the source told AFP. An investigating magistrate must now decide whether to follow the prosecution's recommendations. PHOTO: FREDERICK FLORIN / AFP

(FILES) This file photo taken on July 9, 2016 shows Former French president and head of the right-wing opposition party “Les Republicains” (The Republicans) Nicolas Sarkozy looking on during a meeting with farmers in Kriegsheim, eastern France. Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who is making a fresh bid for election next year, could face trial over alleged illegal funding of his failed 2012 campaign, a source in the investigation said on September 5, 2016. “Prosecutors are calling for all of those charged to be tried,” the source told AFP. An investigating magistrate must now decide whether to follow the prosecution’s recommendations. PHOTO: FREDERICK FLORIN / AFP

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who is making a fresh bid for election next year, could face trial over alleged illegal funding of his failed 2012 campaign, a source in the investigation said Monday.

“Prosecutors are calling for all of those charged to be tried,” the source told AFP. An investigating magistrate must now decide whether to follow the prosecution’s recommendations.

Sarkozy faces allegations of false accounting that allowed him to greatly exceed spending limits in 2012.

The case hinges on the activity of public relations firm Bygmalion, which organised some of Sarkozy’s campaign appearances and is accused of using a vast system of false accounting.

Bygmalion allegedly charged 18.5 million euros ($20.7 million) to Sarkozy’s party — then called the UMP, but since renamed The Republicans — instead of billing the president’s re-election campaign.

As a result, the campaign was able to greatly exceed a spending limit of 22.5 million euros, according to the prosecution.


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