Paris: The French Prosecutor’s office said on Monday ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy and 13 others will be be tried for illegally financing his 2012 electoral campaign.
Sarkozy, currently a candidate in the centre-right Les Républicaines (LR) party in primary elections, was involved in the “Bygmalion affair”, a scandal named after the company that allegedly sent fake invoices for up to $25.67 million, 2.1 per cent more than allowed so that the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party (LR’s previous name) could pay campaign-related expenses, Xinhua news agency reported.
The scandal was sparked after claims that invoices for former President’s 2012 election campaign were passed off as the party’s expenses.
According to EFE news, among the 13 others accused are old UMP leaders, campaign officials and executives from Bygmalion and its subsidiary, Event and Cie.
Sarkozy’s lawyer Thierry Herzog said the Prosecutor’s announcement was “a gross political manoeuvre that would not resist, like all the rest, an examination of the facts”, EFE news reported.
Sarkozy has been in a series of investigations over corruption, including the Bettencourt affair in which he was charged with taking financial advantage of the elderly French billionaire, Liliane Bettencourt, the heiress of L’Oreal group.