Sarkozy placed under formal investigation for corruption
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been placed under formal investigation on suspicion of influence peddling and other crimes, after being detained and questioned by prosecutors as a suspect for over 18 hours.
The announcement came on Wednesday night at around 2:30 am local time. Sarkozy has also been indicted with bribery and violation of professional secrecy, AFP reports.
The investigation relates to suspicions he used his influence to get information on a probe into funding irregularities in his 2007 election campaign, Reuters reports. Sarkozy's lawyer, Thierry Herzog, was also reportedly placed under formal investigation as part of the same case.
The 59-year-old politician appeared before a judge late on Tuesday, after being detained for police questioning in the Paris suburb of Nanterre earlier in the day.
It is the second time the former president has been placed under such a judicial probe since losing his legal immunity after leaving office following the defeat by Francois Hollande in 2012.
The case over which Sarkozy ended up in detention is based on suspicions the politician was tipped off his mobile phone had been tapped and together with his lawyer tried to obstruct justice, France 24 reports. The case also involves a recorded phone conversation between Sarkozy and his lawyer, which allegedly implicated Judge Gilbert Azibert, of leaking information about the ongoing corruption probe.
Judges looking into alleged financial irregularities of Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign had obtained an unprecedented authorisation to listen in to the former president's phone conversations. Denying any wrongdoing, Sarkozy had previously compared this authorization with the methods used during the Cold War by the East German Stasi secret police.