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    Nicolas Sarkozy, former head of the Les Republicains (LR) political party speaks at the French employer's body MEDEF union summer forum on the campus of the HEC School of Management in Jouy-en-Josas, near Paris, France, August 31, 2016.

    Sarkozy May Skip Trial Over Election Expenses Allegations if He Wins Presidency

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    A French prosecutor has requested a criminal trial for former President Nicolas Sarkozy over suspected illegal overspending on his failed 2012 re-election campaign, but he could avoid standing trial if he wins the presidency in 2017.

    Sarkozy was placed under investigation by the Paris Prosecutor in February 2016 over alleged irregularities in his 2012 re-election campaign finances. The matter refers to the allegation that the Bygmalion organization had issued US$20.1 million in false invoices during Sarkozy's 2012 presidential campaign.

    He was officially notified that he is "suspected illegal financing of an election campaign for a candidate, who went beyond the legal limit for electoral spending."

    The effect of the PR agency's over-invoicing of Sarkozy's Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party — now called The Republicans — was, it is alleged, that Sarkozy benefited from funding that was in excess of legal allowances for political campaigning. 

    The announcement that the Paris prosecutor's office has asked investigating judges to hear the case against Sarkozy and 13 others would seriously impede his campaign to become French President once again in 2017, as he will be embroiled in legal proceeding for months in the run-up to the election.

    However, under a neat twist of French law, it could make him more determined to run hard and win the campaign as it would be in his best interests. If Sarkozy were to be elected next year, he would be granted immunity as President and would not be able to stand trial in the case before the end of his five-year term.

    France's President and UMP party candidate for his re-election in the 2012 French presidential elections, Nicolas Sarkozy waves to supporters as he arrives on stage at Trocadero square to deliver a speech during a campaign rally in front the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France May 1, 2012.
    © REUTERS / Philippe Wojazer
    France's President and UMP party candidate for his re-election in the 2012 French presidential elections, Nicolas Sarkozy waves to supporters as he arrives on stage at Trocadero square to deliver a speech during a campaign rally in front the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France May 1, 2012.

    ​Sarkozy's Republican Party treasurer Daniel Fasquelle backed him, telling reporters:

    "We are absolutely serene about the fact that all this will end up in a dismissed case. I'm also surprised that this news is being announced today… as Nicolas Sarkozy just started his campaign."

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    Tags:
    French 2017 election, French elections, election irregularities, Election Fraud, Republicans party, Nicholas Sarkozy, Europe, France
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