Sarkozy faces charges in French corruption probe

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

11 PHOTOS
Nicolas Sarkozy
See Gallery
Sarkozy faces charges in French corruption probe
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)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION


PARIS (AP) - Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, his lawyer and a magistrate are facing preliminary charges in a corruption investigation linked to allegations that he took 50 million euros ($67 million) in illegal campaign funds from Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, after a night of questioning by judicial officials.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the judicial investigation is being carried out independently of the Socialist government, which defeated Sarkozy in elections in 2012.

"This situation is serious, the facts are serious," Valls told BFM television Wednesday. "The indictment concerns magistrates - high level magistrates - a lawyer, a former president of France. But as head of the government, I'm asking that we recall the independence of the justice system, which must carry out its work serenely. No one is above the law, is the second principle. And thirdly, and it is important to remind it, there is the presumption of innocence which applies to everybody."

Lawyers for Thierry Herzog, Sarkozy's attorney, and the magistrate, Gilbert Azibert, said the men were handed preliminary charges of influence trafficking. The French daily Le Monde says the questioning centers around whether Sarkozy and his lawyer were kept informed about the investigation into the Libyan allegations by Azibert in exchange for promises of a post in Monaco.

Azibert did not receive a job in Monaco.

Sarkozy has vigorously denied wrongdoing.

After further investigation, judges will determine whether to bring the case to trial.

Suspicions are based at least in part on taped phone conversations between Sarkozy and his lawyer, Thierry Herzog.

Herzog's lawyer, Paul-Albert Iweins, sharply criticized the decision to take the men into custody for questioning, which lasted into the early hours of Wednesday.

"None of these men is going to flee, they are not going to ignore a summons," Iweins told France Info. "The only reason to detain them is to apply psychological pressure."

Read Full Story

People are Reading