France: Sarkozy's home, office searched by police


French President Nicolas Sarkozy speaks during a press conference at the Chancellery in Berlin on January 9, 2012 after the first high-level talks of the year over the euro crisis amid a simmering row over the controversial Tobin tax on financial market transactions. Sarkozy met today with Chancellor Angela Merkel.


Johannes Eisele

French police searched the home and offices of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday in connection with a campaign finance probe, according to the BBC.

The investigation stems from allegations that Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign accepted illegal donations from Liliane Bettencourt, France's richest woman, said the BBC.

Sarkozy lost his immunity from prosecution on June 15, according to the Associated Press, and denies any wrongdoing.

Police searched the mansion that Sarkozy shares with Carla Bruni in a gated community, as well as his offices at a legal firm and where he moved after losing the presidential election in May, said the Guardian.

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Sarkozy's lawyer said the couple were not present as they had gone on holiday to Quebec on Monday.

The investigation centers around whether Sarkozy or his campaign treasurer illegally received 800,000 euros ($1 million) from Bettencourt, said the Guardian.

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The BBC noted that individual campaign contributions are limited to 4,600 euros ($5,800) in France.

Sarkozy has maintained his innocence, saying on April 3, "there’s not a penny whose origin is unaccounted for," according to Bloomberg.