France's ex-president Sarkozy to face trial over fraud

PARIS-Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been ordered to stand trial for allegedly breaking campaign financing rules in his failed bid for reelection in 2012, a judicial official said Tuesday.

The source said 13 others would also face trial over the affair.

Some of the employees at Bygmalion already faced charges and they admitted they knew all along about the excess spending.

Sarkozy's conservative party Union for a Popular Movement, which has since changed its name to Les Republicains, is accused of using false accounting and fake invoices to hide the true EUR42.8 million cost of the campaign.

Campaign spending limits were set at 22.5 million euros ($25 million).

Sarkozy has always been embroiled in the investigation into alleged overspending on the presidential bid, which he lost to Socialist Francois Hollande after serving one term.

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If found guilty, the former president can face imprisonment on charges of fraud, false accounting and breach of trust.

Sarkoxy's lawyer Thierry Herzog said that the former president will be launching an appeal against the order, suggesting a disagreement between the two judges presiding over the case.

Sarkozy has repeatedly denied the accusations being aware of the alleged fraud.

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.

Sarkozy's trial comes as France's political establishment is under increasing scrutiny over its handling of public funds.

  • Adam Floyd