Nicolas Sarkozy, French ex-president, held for questioning: legal source

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Nicolas Sarkozy, French ex-president, held for questioning: legal source
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy (Rear-C) leaves his home on July 2, 2014 in Paris. France's former president Nicolas Sarkozy has been charged with corruption and influence peddling, French prosecutors said on July 2, a dramatic move in a criminal probe that could wreck his hopes of a political comeback. The decision came after Sarkozy was questioned for 15 hours, marking the first time a French ex-head of state had been taken into custody in a criminal investigation. AFP PHOTO / JACQUES DEMARTHON (Photo credit should read JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images)
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy leaves the financial crimes section, on July 2, 2014 in Paris. Nicolas Sarkozy was on Tuesday detained for questioning in a widening corruption probe, a judicial source told, in an unprecedented move against a former French president. Sarkozy had turned himself in for questioning a day after investigators detained his lawyer Thierry Herzog and two magistrates. The investigators are seeking to establish if the former president, with the help of Herzog, attempted to pervert the course of justice. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
A vehicle with former French President Nicolas Sarkozy aboard arrives at the anti-corruption office of the French police (Oclciff) on July 1, 2014 in Nanterre, near Paris. Nicolas Sarkozy was on Tuesday detained for questioning in a widening corruption probe, a judicial source told, in an unprecedented move against a former French president. Sarkozy had turned himself in for questioning a day after investigators detained his lawyer Thierry Herzog and two magistrates. The investigators are seeking to establish if the former president, with the help of Herzog, attempted to pervert the course of justice. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
French policemen guard the entrance of the anti-corruption office of the French police (Oclciff) on July 1, 2014 in Nanterre, near Paris. Nicolas Sarkozy was on Tuesday detained for questioning at the Oclciff in Nanterre, in a widening corruption probe, a judicial source told, in an unprecedented move against a former French president. Sarkozy had turned himself in for questioning a day after investigators detained his lawyer Thierry Herzog and two magistrates. The investigators are seeking to establish if the former president, with the help of Herzog, attempted to pervert the course of justice. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
French lawyer Paul-Albert Iweins (R), representing Thierry Herzog speaks to Jose Allegrini, lawyer of French top magistrate Gilbert Azibert outside the French Interior Ministry's anti-corruption bureau in Nanterre, west of Paris, on June 30, 2014. Thierry Herzog, lawyer of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, and two magistrates were detained for questioning on June 30 in one of a raft of corruption probes embroiling the former president of France. Investigators are seeking to establish whether Sarkozy, with the help of his lawyer Thierry Herzog, attempted to pervert the course of justice by obtaining inside information from one of the magistrates about the progress of another probe and that he was tipped off that his mobile phone had been tapped by judges looking into the alleged financing of his 2007 election campaign by former Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS SAMSON (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the media interview a French UMP conservative party member outside French National Assembly in Paris, Tuesday May 27, 2014. The leader of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative party is resigning amid a scandal over financing of Sarkozy's losing 2012 presidential campaign. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 18: Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni are seen on June 18, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Europa Press/Europa Press via Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 19: Carla Bruni and Nicolas Sarkozy (C) leave a hotel on June 19, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Europa Press/Europa Press via Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 27: Nicolas Sarkozy looks on before the meeting with King Juan Carlos of Spain at the Zarzuela Palace on May 27, 2014 in Madrid, Spain (Photo by Carlos R. Alvarez/WireImage)
Spain's King Juan Carlos (R) and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy invite eachother to walk forward during a visit at the Zarzuela palace in Madrid on May 27, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ GERARD JULIEN (Photo credit should read GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
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(Reuters) - Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was held on Tuesday for questioning into suspicions that a network of informers kept him abreast of a separate inquiry into alleged irregularities in his 2007 election campaign, a legal source said.

Local media said it was the first time a former head of state had been held for questioning in modern French history. The conservative politician denies wrongdoing in a string of investigations which could derail his hopes of a come-back after his 2012 presidential election defeat by Francois Hollande.

French Ex-President Sarkozy Held In Corruption Probe

Sarkozy arrived early Tuesday to be quizzed by investigators at their offices in Nanterre, west of Paris, after his lawyer was held for questioning on Monday.

"Mr. Sarkozy has been summoned to Nanterre and is being held for questioning," the source told Reuters.

Asked about the matter, French government spokesman Stephane Le Foll said Sarkozy was "subject to justice just like everyone else."

"Justice authorities are investigating and have to go all the way," he told i<Tele.

The former leader is the focus of an investigation launched in February into whether he sought to use his influence to get information about a separate inquiry into allegations that late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi funded his 2007 election campaign.

Investigators suspect Sarkozy and his lawyer kept tabs on the case by using a network of well-connected informants, which only came to light following phone taps.

Sarkozy has likened the magistrates behind the phone-tapping to the "Stasi" police of former Communist East Germany.

Two legal officers with prosecutor roles, Gilbert Azibert and Patrick Sassoust, are also being held for questioning. Investigators suspect Sarkozy had sought to get Azibert a promotion to Monaco in exchange for information.

The case is one of six legal investigations involving Sarkozy, including a new one this year into separate irregularities in his unsuccessful 2012 election campaign.

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