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Sarkozy charged with graft over alleged Gaddafi financing: judicial source

Published: Updated:

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was charged on Wednesday with corruption for allegedly accepting millions of euros from late Libyan dictator Moamer Gaddafi towards his 2007 election campaign, a judicial source told AFP.

Sarkozy, who was released from custody on Wednesday evening after two days of questioning, was charged with corruption, illegal campaign financing and concealment of Libyan public money, the source added.

Sarkozy returned to police custody on Wednesday for a second day of questioning over allegations the late Libyan dictator Moamer Gaddafi financed his 2007 election campaign, sources close to the inquiry told AFP.

Sarkozy arrived just before 8:00 am (0700 GMT) at the bureau of officers specializing in corruption, money laundering and tax evasion in the western Parisian suburb of Nanterre, an AFP journalist said.

He was first taken into custody on Tuesday morning, but left the police building around midnight. His lawyers did not respond to requests for comment.

Explosive political scandal

Since 2013, investigating magistrates have been probing media reports, as well as statements by Gaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam, that claimed funds were provided for Sarkozy’s run at the presidency.

The case is France’s most explosive political financing scandal and one of several legal probes that have dogged the rightwing politician since he left office after one term in 2012.

Brice Hortefeux, a Sarkozy ally who was a top minister during his presidency, was also questioned on Tuesday until about 11:30 pm. “Testifying freely, the details provided should put an end to a series of errors and lies,” Hortefeux later said on Twitter.

Under French law Sarkozy can be held for questioning for up to 48 hours, after which he can be either released, told to return for further questioning later, or brought before a judge to potentially face charges.