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It marked a dramatic acceleration of an investigation that had largely vanished from the news since it opened five years ago, shortly after the 63-year-old left.
Sarkozy, who has consistently denied claims he accepted millions of euros from Gaddafi, some of which came in suitcases full of cash, had vowed to clear his name, even if it takes years.
“We have the right to appeal. I will appeal against these legal restrictions, ”his lawyer Thierry Herzog told RTL radio, saying the measures were aimed at humiliating the right winger.
After two days of interrogation in police custody over allegations that first emerged during a French-led intervention in Libya in 2011, Sarkozy has been charged with corruption, illegal campaign financing and concealment of public funds Libyans.
Also read: Frenchman Sarkozy said he was suspected of taking election money from Gaddafi
Judges banned Sarkozy from visiting four countries, including Libya, and banned him from speaking to nine other people involved in the five-year investigation, including two former ministers.
Among those who are forbidden to meet, there is the former Minister of the Interior Claude Guéant – suspected of having received part of the cash – and the former Brice Hortefeux, a close friend who occupied several important positions in the administration of Sarkozy.
Sarkozy had been released from custody but placed under judicial supervision. In French legal parlance, he has been officially “under investigation” – a step that forensic investigators can take if they have serious grounds for suspecting an offense. Being placed under investigation often, but not always, leads to trial.
It was the second major investigation for Sarkozy, who was also accused of illicit campaign spending overruns during his failed re-election in 2012.
The latest case concerns the accusations of a Franco-Lebanese businessman, Ziad Takieddine, who claims to have helped channel 5 million euros ($ 6 million) from Gaddafi’s intelligence chief to Sarkozy’s campaign chief before the 2007 elections.