Sarkozy didn't get "a penny" from L'Oreal heiress, he says


French billionaire L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt arrives by car at the Institut de France on Oct. 12, 2011 in Paris.


Francois Guillot

Former France President Nicolas Sarkozy is accused of taking advantage of his country's richest woman, but he told a court in the southwest city of Bordeaux on Friday that he never received any money from L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, France 24 reported.

Sarkozy endured questioning for more than 12 hours, the Independent reported. He is a possible suspect, but for now just a "legally assisted witness," in an ongoing investigation into the allegedly illegal campaign financing. 

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Bettencourt is now 90 and has been in poor health since 2006, the AFP reported. Sarkozy is accused of obtaining significant amounts of money from her for his 2007 presidential campaign, which would violate both French electoral spending laws and laws against taking advantage of a person in poor health.

But Sarkozy denied the charges on Friday. "I have known the Bettencourts since I was 28-years-old. I am now 57," Sarkozy told judges, according to Reuters. "They never gave me a penny, I never gave them one and I never asked them for anything. I was not going to start at 52 as France's president."