French federal prosecutors have launched an investigation looking into corruption charges against former President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Sarkozy, President of France from 2007-2012, is being investigated on corruption charges that could derail his political career, and send Sarkozy to prison for 10 years.
French federal investigators have opened a formal inquiry into whether Sarkozy, his lawyer, and a powerful appeals court judge acted in concert to obtain information about an investigation into the financing of Sarkozy’s 2007 successful Presidential campaign, the Associated Press reports.
Yesterday, The New York Times reported, Sarkozy, 59, was questioned by police for 15-hours in connection with the corruption allegations.
Included in the investigation are allegations that Sarkozy’s campaign received about 50 million euros ($68 million U.S.) in illegal contributions from Libyan dictator, Muammar el-Qaddafi.
The right-of-center Sarkozy, 59, has not been indicted, but the announcement of a formal investigation indicates that prosecutors believe charges are likely to be filed against Sarokozy, attorney Thierry Herzog, and appeals court judge, Gilbert Azibert .
All three have denied the charges.
Paul-Albert Iweins, Herzog’s lawyer, said, “The facts in this case rest on wiretapped conversations whose legality we challenge and which we will strongly fight against,” Iweins was quoted in Libération, a leading French newspaper.
The investigation, and likely charges and trial, could be major blows to Sarkozy’s political future. He has been said to be considering running for the 2017 French Presidency, again under his party, the Union for a Popular Movement.
If he is charged, but acquitted, it is not necessarily the end of Sarkozy’s Presidential ambitions. Alain Juppe, also from Sarkozy’s Union for a Popular Movement party, was criminally convicted for misusing public funds in 2004, is now one of France’s most popular political figures, himself spoken of as a potential Presidential candidate.