Sarkozy one step closer to corruption trial as judges uphold phone tap evidence

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Nicolas Sarkozy's hopes of returning to the Elysée suffered a potential blow on Tuesday when France's top court approved the use of telephone taps that led to the former president being formally investigated for “corruption” and “influence peddling”. The decision by the Cour de Cassation to reject Sarkozy's appeal means that he could soon face charges and be sent for trial over the allegations, which concern his alleged attempts to obtain confidential information about another legal affair that involved him. Though he has not formally announced his candidacy for the Right's autumn primary ahead of the 2017 presidential election, it is widely expected that Sarkozy will stand. But the electoral road is likely to be tougher for Sarkozy if he is facing a trial on corruption charges. Michel Deléan reports.

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France's highest court, the Cour de Cassation, has backed the use of telephone taps on Nicolas Sarkozy that led to the former French president being placed under formal investigation for alleged corruption and influence peddling. The ruling by the court on Tuesday March 22nd now potentially paves the way for Sarkozy to be formally charged and sent for trial over the affair, which involves claims he sought to induce a senior judge to obtain confidential information about another judicial case involving the former head of state.If Sarkozy is indeed sent for trial then this would represent a potential blow to his political ambitions ahead of the autumn primary election to be held by his right-wing Les Républicains (LR) party, designed to choose a candidate for the 2017 presidential election. Any trial, however, seems unlikely to take place until after the presidential poll. The former head of state, who became the LR president after returning to front-line politics in 2014, and who was received by Pope Francis in Rome on Monday March 21st, has not yet formally declared his candidacy. But he is widely expected to do so in the coming months. The former prime minster and current major of Bordeaux, Alain Juppé, is seen as his biggest rival in the primary.