Bettencourt affair: case dismissed against Sarkozy

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After a long and politically explosive legal saga, the proceedings against Nicolas Sarkozy in relation to the Bettencourt affair have been dropped. The former president, who had denied any wrongdoing, had faced allegations that he took advantage of the mental frailty of L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt to get cash for his 2007 election campaign. But on Monday the investigating magistrates in charge of this high-profile case decided not to send the former president to court to face charges. Allies believe this clears the path to his return to French politics. However ten others, including former employment minister and ex-UMP treasurer Éric Woerth, are to stand trial over the Bettencourt affair. Michel Deléan reports.

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Investigating judges have dropped all proceedings against Nicolas Sarkozy in relation to the Bettencourt affair in which the former president was accused of having taken advantage of L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt's mental frailty in order to get cash for his 2007 election campaign. The two Bordeaux-based examining magistrates, who in March provoked a political storm when they placed Sarkozy under formal investigation in connection with the claims, announced on Monday that they had decided that the case against the ex-head of state should be dropped. Sarkozy himself had always vehemently denied the allegations.