French ex-president to face trial over campaign funding

Feb 07, 2017, 8:10 AM EST
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy
(Source: Stefan de Vries/flickr)

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has been ordered to stand trial over allegations that he fraudulently financed his election campaign in 2012. Sarkozy’s office is accused of falsifying the account books to conceal his overspending during his failed re-election bid. Sarkozy has rejected the accusations, saying that he was not aware of overspending.

In France, the presidential campaign spending limit is set at €22.5m but investigators suspect that Sarkozy flouted that cap by shelling out about €45m on his “lavish rallies” and “theatrical mega-productions” during his election face-off with the Socialist François Hollande, writes The Guardian.

It is alleged that Sarkozy connived with a friendly P.R. agency called Bygmalion, which prepared fake invoices and falsely charged €18.5m to Sarkozy’s rightwing party, notes the BBC. The fraud has already been admitted by the executives of the agency, and the trial will establish whether the former president was aware of the graft or not.