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Apr 24, 2019

Sarkozy named assisted witness in campaign scandal

Published Date: 02 Apr, 2015 (10:55 AM)

Paris, April 2 (IANS) Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was named an assisted witness in a case over a campaign finance scandal dating back to his failed second bid at the presidency in 2012.

The status of assisted witness which was announced by a Paris court on Wednesday means Sarkozy will not face trial at the end of the inquiry, Xinhua reported on Thursday.

"Justice has won. They found that there was no need to put him (Sarkozy) under formal investigation. This case is thus closed," defence lawyer Thierry Herzog said.

In July 2013, the Constitutional Council, France's top constitutional body, confirmed Sarkozy had exceeded spending limits by 2.1 percent or 22.5 million euros ($24 million).

It imposed a personal 360,000 euros fine on Sarkozy that was paid off by the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party.

After winning the leadership of the conservative UMP party a year later, Sarkozy paid 363,615 euros to the UMP party treasurer in an attempt to bring the matter to a close.

The inquiry over his failed campaign followed after the conservatives gained majority votes in the country's regional election on Sunday.

The former president has been in a series of investigations over corruption, including the Bettencourt affair wherein he was charged with allegedly taking financial advantage of the elderly French billionaire Liliane Bettencourt, the heiress of the L'Oreal cosmetics and beauty group.

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