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Sarkozy to appeal decision to send him for trial

08 February 2017

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was ordered Tuesday to stand trial in an inquiry into alleged campaign finance fraud during his failed 2012 re-election bid, the Paris prosecutor's office said. Investigators suspect [L'Express report, in French] Sarkozy exceeded that amount by €23 million on big-production, theatrical rallies.

One of two magistrates handling the case ordered the trial on the charge that Sarkozy spent way more than he was entitled to, despite warnings from his accountants.

Mr Sarkozy denies he was aware of the overspending, and will appeal against the order to stand trial. Several Bygmalion employees told authorities the illicit campaign activity occurred.

Sarkozy is to appear in court along with 13 others, said the "France Info" broadcaster, citing court sources.

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Judge Serge Tournaire chose to put Sarkozy on trial over "illegal election campaign financing", according to reports. "The clear disagreement between the two magistrates in charge of the matter is such a rare event that it is worth underlining, as it illustrates the inanity of the decision", said Sarkozy's lawyer, Thierry Herzog, according to BBC. Herzog said previous year he considered the campaign overspending issue settled because his client already paid a penalty.

Francois Fillon, the centre-right presidential candidate has faced embezzlement allegations in recent weeks after reports his wife was paid with taxpayer money for a bogus job as a parliamentary assistant.

After retiring from politics following that defeat, he returned to take the helm of the Republicans and sought the nomination to run for president in this year's two-stage election in April and May.

Sarkozy to appeal decision to send him for trial