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Sarkozy campaign funds fraud allegations dropped

The investigation into allegations that former French president Nicolas Sarkozy [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] exploited L'Oreal [corporate website] heiress Liliane Bettencourt [Forbes profile] into donating illicit election campaign funds has been dropped, according to Monday reports. Bettencourt's accountant had stated [BBC report] she had passed €150,000 to Sarkozy's UMP [party website, in French] party in the run-up to Sarkozy's 2007 presidential election victory. Under French law Individual campaign contributions are limited to €4,600 annually. The Court of Appeals of Bordeaux ruled [JURIST report] in late September that the investigation could proceed. Ten other individuals, including Sarkozy's former campaign aide and UMP treasurer, are under investigation and facing trial in the case.

Sarkozy is facing several other corruption allegations. In April French authorities opened a judicial investigation into allegations that Sarkozy accepted illicit funds [Reuters report] from former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi [Guardian obituary; JURIST news archive]. In June of last year a suit was filed against Sarkozy to investigate his alleged involvement [JURIST report] in the French sale of submarines to Pakistan in the 1990s. In December 2011 Sarkozy's predecessor, Jacques Chirac [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] was convicted [JURIST report] by a French court on corruption charges, receiving a two-year suspended sentence. He was accused of using public funds to support his political goals when he was mayor of Paris. Three months earlier a French prosecutor asked [JURIST report] the court to drop the corruption charges against Chirac. During the same month lawyers for Chirac filed documents with the 11th Criminal Court of Paris claiming that their client was to ill to attend court hearings that was planned to begin after it was delayed [JURIST reports] in March.

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