Sarkozy Detained by Police

Said to have traded job offer for information

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 1, 2014 6:30 AM CDT | Updated Jul 1, 2014 6:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – For what appears to be the first time in history, a French ex-head of state has been detained by police, the BBC reports: Nicolas Sarkozy is being held amid reports he traded influence for information. Officials are investigating whether the former—and would-be future—president offered a high-profile job to a judge in order to get information about a campaign funding investigation. The detention could be bad news for Sarkozy's bid to win the presidency again in 2017; his party is currently "rudderless," notes the BBC in a separate piece, and facing an investigation into allegations that it faked some $13.6 million in invoices in 2012.

Sarkozy was allegedly told his phone was tapped in the earlier probe, which addressed funding for his 2007 campaign; he was said to be taking donations from Moammar Gadhafi, the Guardian reports. The phone-tapping revealed what officials called a "traffic of influence." The new claims suggest Sarkozy had judge Gilbert Azibert keep him updated on how the funding probe was progressing—and perhaps asked Azibert to influence the case on his behalf. But Sarkozy's supporters, the BBC notes, argue that the current government is deliberately targeting Sarkozy out of political motivations. Sarkozy's lawyer, Azibert, and another judge have also been detained.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is facing a corruption investigation.
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is facing a corruption investigation.   (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
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