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Sarkozy to stand trial over alleged political finances offenses: report

Editor: zhenglimin 丨Xinhua

02-07-2017 20:34 BJT

PARIS, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy will face trial over allegations of false accounting during his 2012 election campaign that allowed him to exceed spending limits, local media reported on Tuesday.

Judge Serge Tournaire decided to put Sarkozy on trial over "illegal election campaign financing," according to reports.

Thirteen others, who were main figures in Sarkozy's 2012 campaign, are also to face trial for alleged "breach of trust or concealment," and "fraud and complicity in illegal campaign financing."

If convicted, the 62-year-old politician risks a one-year jail sentence, the reports said.

Sarkozy's defense lawyers could appeal the magistrate's decision in ten days as it was signed by one of the two judges in charge of the issue.

In 2013, Sarkozy was accused of exceeding spending limits by nearly 23 million euros (24.52 million U.S. dollars) for his failed election campaign five years ago, 2.1 percent more than is allowed under French law.

The so-called "Bygmalion affair" began after claims that invoices for Sarkozy's campaign were passed off as party expenses.

However, the conservative politician had repeatedly denied knowing about any false accounting.

The former head of state has been in a series of investigations over corruption, including the Bettencourt affair in which he was charged with taking financial advantage of the elderly French billionaire, Liliane Bettencourt, the heiress of L'Oreal Group. (1 euro=1.06 U.S. dollars)

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