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French Police Raid Sarkozy Office, Home In Campaign Finance Probe


Nicolas Sarkozy leaves the stage after a speech following his reelection defeat in May in a runoff vote against Socialist Francois Hollande.

Nicolas Sarkozy leaves the stage after a speech following his reelection defeat in May in a runoff vote against Socialist Francois Hollande.

French police have searched Nicolas Sarkozy's offices and home as part of their probe into claims the former president was involved in illegal political-campaign financing.

An unnamed official told AP that Judge Jean-Michel Gentil and other investigators from the Paris financial crimes unit conducted the July 3 search.

Magistrates are investigating claims that staff for Liliane Bettencourt, heiress to the L'Oreal cosmetics empire and France's richest woman, gave envelopes stuffed with cash to Sarkozy aides to finance his 2007 campaign.

Sarkozy, who lost the presidency to Francois Hollande in May elections, denies the claims. He has provided diaries that his lawyer claims will confirm that Sarkozy couldn't have been at the Bettencourt home for meetings alleged by his accusers.

Sarkozy is currently in Canada with his family.

Sarkozy's presidential immunity from prosecution expired in June.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP
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