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The ex-head of state has been formally placed under investigation – one step short of charges being brought – over allegations of 'active corruption', of 'influence peddling' and of receiving information as a result of the violation of rules on professional secrecy. Sarkozy, who on Tuesday became the first French president to be held in police custody for questioning, is suspected of using his lawyer to obtain confidential information from a senior judge about the controversial Bettencourt affair. The claim is that in return Sarkozy was to help the judge, Gilbert Azibert, obtain a top job in Monaco. The fact that Sarkozy is now the target of a potentially lengthy judicial probe will cast fresh doubt on his ability to stage the political comeback that many claim he is planning. Questioned on French television on Wednesday evening Sarkozy claimed there was an organised campaign by a section of the judiciary to “humiliate” and “destroy” him.
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