Sarkozy quizzed by magistrates over election funds

By REUTERS
November 22, 2012 15:02

 
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BORDEAUX - Nicolas Sarkozy was questioned on Thursday by magistrates trying to establish whether he received illegal campaign funds from France's richest woman when he ran for president in 2007.

It was the first time since losing the presidency - and the legal immunity that went with it - in May that he has been questioned about the scandal which could poison any future comeback bid, something many conservatives are yearning for.

In one strand of a broader inquiry, magistrates are looking at 4 million euros ($5 million) of cash withdrawals from the Swiss bank accounts of Liliane Bettencourt, heiress of the L'Oreal cosmetics empire.

Sarkozy denies any wrongdoing but any drawn-out legal probe may taint him with sucpicion that could damage his chances of running at the 2017 presidential election, which one recent poll showed 52 percent of his party's supporters want to see.

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