Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has been ordered to stand trial for corruption and influence peddling involving a judge, from whom he tried to get information about an investigation, a legal source said Thursday.
The decision to send the case to trial comes a week after Sarkozy – who already faces a trial for illegal campaign financing in his 2012 re-election campaign – was charged with accepting millions of euros in funding from late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi
The case came about after investigators using phone-taps to examine the alleged links to Gaddafi, began to suspect he had kept tabs on a separate case through a network of informants.
All rise: Nicolas Sarkozy, pictured with fellow former French President Francois Hollande yesterday, allegedly used informants to gain intel on police investigation into claims Libyan dictator Gaddafi financed his election campaign
Sarkozy, who served as President of France from 2007 to 2012, has been charged with passive bribery, illegal campaign financing and receiving £4.35million of Libyan public funds.
If he is found guilty, he could be jailed over the donations, which are believed to have been laundered through bank accounts in Panama and Switzerland.
In a court statement published last week, Sarkozy called the charges ‘slanderous’ and claimed that the accusations are a ‘manipulation by the dictator Gaddafi or his gang’.
‘I’ve been living the hell of this slander since March 11, 2011’ when the late Colonel Gaddafi first made the allegations, Sarkozy said.
Love lost: Sarkozy was last week charged with passive bribery, illegal campaign financing and receiving £4.35million of Libyan public funds from Muammar Gaddafi. The pair are pictured at Elysee Palace in Paris in 2007
Out in public: Sarkozy attended the ceremony to honour Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame, who was killed in last week’s terrorist attack, along with French President Emmanuel Macron, second left, his wife Brigitte Macron and Francois Hollande at the Hotel des Invalides in Paris
He also lashed out at Franco-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine who claims to have delivered three cash-stuffed suitcases from Kadhafi in 2006 and 2007, when Sarkozy was preparing his first run for president.
Takieddine, who claimed he provided 1.5 to 2 million euros in 200-euro and 500-euro notes, has ‘highly suspect characteristics and the questionable past’, Sarkozy retorted.
His lawyer, Thierry Herzog, used the same colourful language when he went on radio last friday Friday to defend his client.
‘I will prove (ex-) President Sarkozy innocent. I will give proof he is innocent and then we will know who the evildoers are, who the thugs are, who the assassins are, who the robbers are,’ he told RTL.
Before his indictment, Sarkozy was planning a trip to London, but he is now under judicial control and may not be allowed to travel.
On Wednesday, he was in attendance at a ceremony at the Hotel des Invalides, along with fellow former president Francois Hollande, honouring the police officer killed in by an ISIS terrorist in southwestern France last week.