[JURIST] Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] was taken into police custody on Tuesday for questioning regarding allegations of misuse of influence and illegal campaign financing. Specifically, anti-corruption investigators are looking into whether Sarkozy used his political influence [BBC report] to encourage a judge to share information with him about judicial proceedings into his 2007 presidential campaign funding. It is alleged Sarkozy offered the judge a prestigious position in Monaco in exchange for the information. Investigators also suspect Sarkozy was informed that his phone was being bugged during the campaign-funding investigation. Sarkozy, who was France’s president from 2007-2012, plans to run for president again in 2017 and claims the current allegations against him are politically motivated.
Sarkozy’s post-presidential legal troubles started shortly after he lost the 2012 election. In June 2012, one month out of office and having lost his presidential immunity from investigative or legal procedures, Sarkozy was accused [JURIST report] of illegally using proceeds from submarine sales to Pakistan toward his campaign funding in 1995. In September a French appeals court allowed [JURIST report] an investigation to proceed into allegations that Sarkozy exploited L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, medically diagnosed with dementia, into donating to his political campaign. The charges were dropped the following month [JURIST report].