PARIS - Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was placed under formal investigation by magistrates in Paris on Wednesday morning on suspicion of influence peddling and other crimes in connection with a campaign leaks probe, the prosecutor's office said.

It was the second time the former president, who was defeated by Socialist Francois Hollande in 2012, was placed under such a judicial probe since he lost his legal immunity after leaving office. Sarkozy has denied any wrongdoing.

Under French law, being placed under formal investigation indicates there exists "serious or consistent evidence" pointing to probable implication of a suspect in a crime.

The case relates to suspicions he used his influence to get information on an investigation into funding irregularities in his victorious 2007 election campaign.


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