Sarkozy Said to Face Trial on Illegal Funding in 2012 Campaign

  • Former French president went over campaign spending limits
  • Sarkozy sought re-election as France’s president in 2012

Nicolas Sarkozy.

Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy faces a trial on charges that he illegally exceeded campaign-spending limits in his failed 2012 re-election bid, according to a person in the Paris prosecutor’s office.

An investigative judge decided on Feb. 3 to send Sarkozy to trial for going beyond the legal amount for election expenses, said the person, who asked not to be named as the details are confidential. The move comes a year after he was charged by French prosecutors.

Sarkozy spent at least 42.8 million euros ($45.6 million) -- above the total spending limits for both presidential rounds set at under 40 million euros -- without taking into account two alerts from accountants, said the person.

Sarkozy has always denied the accusations. His lawyer, Thierry Herzog, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Herzog said last year he considered the campaign overspending issue settled because his client already paid a penalty.

Agence France-Presse reported the information earlier Tuesday.

Sarkozy, who was defeated by Francois Fillon in November’s Les Republicans party primary, is embroiled in several legal fights. In this case, judges are also investigating possible improper use of Sarkozy’s campaign funds as well as kick-backs involving Bygmalion, a communications company hired to organize his rallies during the 2012 election fight.

The former French president was also charged with influence peddling in 2014.

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