Former French President’s Trial over Libyan Financing Case to Begin on Monday

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The former French president Nicolas Sarkozy is set to go on trial on Monday to face charges of his involvement in a corruption case related to receiving millions in cash from the former Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi for his 2007 election campaign.

In the long-running investigation, Sarkozy has been accused of “involvement in a criminal conspiracy”, alongside his lawyer Thierry Herzog and former judge Gilbert Azibert. The former President rejected these charges after four days of questioning. He was also questioned last year over the same file.

Sarkozy was charged in 2018 with corruption, illegal campaign financing, and benefiting from embezzled public funds. A former aide, Thierry Gaubert, was also put under formal investigation in January by magistrates.

Sarkozy, who was president from 2007 to 2012, has denied any wrongdoing, saying on his Facebook page on Friday that his “innocence has been tarnished” by the charges, without “even the slightest proof.”

“I answered every question I was asked without ever being put in difficulty,” he said, referring to the recent grilling by prosecutors. “I know that justice will triumph in the end.”

Sarkozy’s predecessor, Jacques Chirac, who was president between 1995-2007, was sentenced to two years in prison for embezzlement, with the right to suspension of the sentence. His health prevented him from appearing in court.