Ex-French President Sarkozy in custody over campaign financing

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Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was in police custody for an investigation into his election campaign financing, local media reported Tuesday quoting a judiciary official source.

Sarkozy appeared for the first time before financial magistrates in Nanterre commune, near Paris, as part of an inquiry into whether he took cash funding his victorious election bid in 2007 from Libya, Le Monde newspaper said.

A judicial inquiry was opened in as early as April 2013 into the suspected irregularities over the former president's campaign funding after investigative online journal Mediapart unveiled that Libya had offered money to finance his campaign.

In 2016, French-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine revealed to Mediapart that he delivered three suitcases containing five million euros (US$6.17 million) in cash, from late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to Sarkozy, as well as to Sarkozy's former chief of staff and campaign director Claude Gueant between 2006 and 2007.

Takieddine said he had given a written deposition to judges on Nov. 12 2016, detailing the cash handovers and his meetings with them.

Sarkozy's custody could be heard over such affairs for 48 hours, and he risks to be convicted after the questioning, according to the report.

Sarkozy, 63, served as president of France from May 2007 until May 2012. 

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