Ex-president Sarkozy to face trial in France

Sarkozy to face trial for alleged spying on probe into campaign corruption

Former French President Sarkozy

Paris: Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was ordered on Thursday to stand trial for influence peddling over accusations he offered to help a prosecutor get promoted in return for leaked information about a separate criminal inquiry.

Sarkozy's lawyers said he would appeal the decision to send him to court, initially reported by the daily Le Monde.

Investigators examining allegations that Sarkozy's campaign was funded by Libya began to suspect that he was monitoring the probe using a network of informants.

Sarkozy was president from 2007 to 2012 but was defeated by Socialist Francois Hollande when he ran for re-election. They center mainly on allegations he provided illegal funds to the campaign of conservative politician Edouard Balladur for his 1995 presidential election campaign - via commissions from the sale of French submarines to Pakistan. After Mr Sarkozy was elected in 2007, he received Gaddafi with pomp in Paris, but later spearheaded worldwide military action against his regime in 2011 along with David Cameron and Barack Obama, which led to the dictator being toppled and killed.

Sarkozy has said he's been unfairly targeted by investigators for political reasons. Sarkozy lost presidential immunity from legal prosecution a month after he left office in June 2012.

In the Mediapart interview, Takieddine said that he was given 5 million euros in Tripoli by Kadafi's intelligence chief in late 2006 and 2007 and that he gave the money to Sarkozy and Gueant in suitcases on three occasions.

Sarkozy failed to win his party's primary for the 2017 presidential election and has largely stayed out of politics since then. That made the now ailing Chirac the first French head of state convicted since Nazi collaborator Marshal Philippe Petain in 1945.

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