Nicolas Sarkozy faces a new criminal investigation

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Nicolas Sarkozy, the former French president, has been the subject of a formal investigation for criminal conspiracy over the alleged illegal Libyan financing of his 2007 election campaign, the fourth and final line of inquiry relating to the case – which is itself one of the three great legal battles during her political career.

The national financial prosecutor confirmed the new investigation on Friday. Mr. Sarkozy, one of the many senior French politicians to be implicated in such cases in recent years, has already been the subject of an investigation for more than two years in connection with the Libyan case for “passive corruption” , “Concealing the embezzlement of public funds” “Illegal campaign financing”.

Mr Sarkozy, who has been questioned by investigating judges for four days in the past two weeks, insisted on his innocence and said he was “stunned” to learn of the new official investigation into Libyan funding.

“The French should know that I am innocent of the charges which gave improbable credit to the statements of murderers, notorious fraudsters and false witnesses,” he said on Facebook. “Throughout these 44 hours of questioning, I provided the essentials to support the full demonstration of my integrity.”

Mr Sarkozy, a center-right politician who served as French president from 2007 to 2012, also faces two separate trials for corruption and illegal financing in the coming months.

In November and December, he will be tried on allegations that he and his lawyer Thierry Herzog tried to bribe a judge to obtain confidential information on another case involving Mr. Sarkozy and his allies. And in March and April, he will stand trial in a campaign finance case for allegedly exceeding spending by more than € 20m during his failed presidency in 2012.

The Libyan investigation is one of several corruption court cases and inquiries involving French political and business leaders in recent decades.

François Fillon, who was Prime Minister of Mr. Sarkozy for the entire five-year term until 2012, was sentenced to prison in June this year for embezzlement. He paid his wife more than a million euros in public funds for a job she never did, in a scandal the unveiling of which derailed the center-right campaign in the presidential election of 2017 and allowed the victory of Emmanuel Macron. Mr. Fillon appealed.

The late Jacques Chirac, another center-right politician who served as president from 1995 to 2007, and his prime minister Alain Juppé were both found guilty of corruption and given suspended prison terms. Edouard Balladur, another former prime minister, faces trial over allegations that money from arms sales was funneled into his 1995 presidential campaign.

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