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France

Sarkozy 'summoned by judge' in L'Oreal heiress probe

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Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-11-05

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been summoned to appear in court this week, according to French media on Monday, as part of a probe into alleged illegal campaign funding involving L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been summoned to appear before a judge investigating allegations he received illegal campaign donations from L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, French media reported on Monday.

According to Europe1 radio, Sarkozy will be grilled by a judge in the southwestern city of Bordeaux “at some point this week” over the financing of his successful 2007 presidential election campaign.

News of the summons was quickly picked up by numerous other French media sites.

Sarkozy, who was ousted from the Elysée by François Hollande in May’s presidential election, was initially due to appear on Friday November 2, but was unavailable at the time, Europe 1 reports.
 
Earlier this summer, police investigating the “Bettencourt affair” raided Sarkozy’s Paris offices and his home, which he shares with singer and model Carla Bruni. Sarkozy has strongly denied any wrongdoing in relation to the allegations.
 
The scandal erupted in 2010 when the then-president's name emerged in a long-running family feud between Liliane Bettencourt and her daughter, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers.
 
Various leaks to the media suggested that then-budget minister Eric Woerth, who was Sarkozy’s campaign treasurer in 2007, had received envelopes containing thousands of euros in illegal campaign funds.
 
Bettencourt accountant Claire Thibault told news website Mediapart that she had personally given Woerth 150,000 euros in cash, a claim he denies.
 
Thibault has said she could not prove that Sarkozy had personally received, or was aware of, any illicit funding.
 
“Many politicians visited the Bettencourts looking for campaign funding; it is well known,” she told Mediapart. “It is possible Mr Sarkozy was one of those people, but I was not present when the envelopes were distributed.”
 

 

 

Date created : 2012-11-05

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