22 Mar 2013

Sarkozy to be investigated over Bettencourt scandal

11:35 am on 22 March 2013

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has been placed under formal investigation over claims his 2007 election campaign received illegal donations from the country's richest woman.

Mr Sarkozy is accused of accepting thousands of euros from L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt. He denies taking financial advantage of the 90-year-old.

Mr Sarkozy's lawyer said he would file an appeal against the "incoherent and unfair decision", AFP reports.

It is alleged that staff acting for Mrs Bettencourt gave €150,000 euros in cash to Mr Sarkozy's aides during his successful 2007 campaign to become president.

Police raided his home and offices in July last year after he lost his immunity, as part of an inquiry ordered by examining magistrate Jean-Michel Gentil, the BBC reports.

Mr Sarkozy has dismissed as mere gossip claims that he took envelopes stuffed with cash.