Sarkozy questioned over 2012 campaign fine

Investigation centres on claims UMP party should not have paid Sarkozy's fine after former president's 2012 campaign broke election spending limits.

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Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy arrived at a Paris court Wednesday for questioning over a campaign finance scandal dating back to his failed run for the presidency in 2012, reports Zee News.

The probe centres on claims the centre-right UMP party -- which Sarkozy now heads up -- should not have paid fines levelled against the former French leader after he broke campaign spending limits.

The UMP is accused of using public cash to pay off Sarkozy`s fines, and the party`s former chief Jean-François Cope has been charged (1) over the affair, as has former party treasurer Catherine Vautrin.

The former president arrived at the financial section of the main Paris court on Wednesday morning for questioning by investigating judges.

Sarkozy`s campaign is also accused of falsifying invoices for events and passing off some 18.5 million euros ($20 million) in spending as UMP party expenses.

Read more of this AFP report published by Zee News.

1. Under a change to the French legal system introduced in 1993, a magistrate can decide a suspect should be 'placed under investigation' (mise en examen), which is a status one step short of being charged (inculpé), if there is 'serious or concordant' evidence that they committed a crime. Some English-language media describe this status, peculiar to French criminal law, as that of being charged. In fact, it is only at the end of an investigation that a decision can be made to bring charges, in which case the accused is automatically sent for trial.

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