French court says former president Sarkozy should be tried over campaign funding

Prosecutors claim former French president Nicolas Sarkozy spent nearly 43 million euros (S$67.67 million) on his lavish re-election bid - almost double the legal limit of 22.5 million euros - via fake invoices.
Prosecutors claim former French president Nicolas Sarkozy spent nearly 43 million euros (S$67.67 million) on his lavish re-election bid - almost double the legal limit of 22.5 million euros - via fake invoices.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - A French appeals court ruled on Thursday (Oct 25) that former president Nicolas Sarkozy should stand trial on charges of illicit financing of his failed 2012 presidential campaign.

Sarkozy, 63, will appeal the decision before the Cour de Cassation, France's court of final appeal, his lawyers said on Thursday.

It is one of several legal inquiries which have dogged the right-wing politician since he left office.

In upholding last year's decision by a judge to put Sarkozy on trial, the appeals court in Paris rejected arguments from his legal team seeking to avoid a potentially embarrassing public ordeal of a trial as well as up to a year in prison if found guilty.

Prosecutors claim Sarkozy spent nearly 43 million euros (S$67.67 million) on his lavish re-election bid - almost double the legal limit of 22.5 million euros - via fake invoices.

Sarkozy has angrily denounced the charges, saying he was unaware of the fraud by executives at public relations firm Bygmalion, who are also facing trial alongside accountants and former officials of his UMP party.