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Former French President Sarkozy to be tried for corruption

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy attends a national ceremony for Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame, on March 28, 2018 at the Hotel des Invalides in Paris. (Photo by AFP)

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy will face trial over charges that he misused his influence to secure leaked details of an inquiry into alleged irregularities in his 2007 election campaign, Le Monde reported on Thursday.

The case came about after investigators used phone-taps to examine separate allegations that late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi funded Sarkozy's campaign and began to suspect he had kept tabs on a separate case through a network of informants.

Sarkozy was handed preliminary charges last week over allegations that he accepted millions of euros in illegal campaign funding from Gaddafi.

French prosecutors believe Gaddafi secretly gave Sarkozy 50 million euros (about $62 million) overall for his 2007 presidential campaign.

The sum would be more than double the legal campaign funding limit at the time — 21 million euros. In addition, the alleged payments would violate French rules against foreign financing and requiring that the source of campaign funds be declared.

Sarkozy has faced other campaign-related legal troubles in the past. In February 2017, he was ordered to stand trial after being handed preliminary charges for suspected illegal overspending on his failed 2012 re-election campaign.

In 2013, he was cleared of allegations that he illegally took donations from France's then richest woman, the late Liliane Bettencourt, for the 2007 presidential election.

Sarkozy has denied any wrongdoing.

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