Former France president Nicolas Sarkozy will have to face trial in connection with an illegal campaign finance case. One of the two judges investigating the matter has signed the order, reported BBC on Tuesday.
Sarkozy’s party, The Republican, has been accused of submitting false accounts to conceal the actual cost of his 2012 presidential election campaign. The party allegedly conspired with a public relations firm Bygmalion, which falsely invoiced Sarkozy’s party of 18 million euros rather than the poll campaign. France has a cap of 22.5 million euros on campaign spending. Sarkozy’s campaign spending had gone up to 45 million euros, reported The Guardian.
Sarkozy is accused of being aware of the alleged financial scam. Apart from Sarkozy, 13 other people are expected to face trial in the case. Employees at Bygmalion have already admitted to the fraud, which is popularly known as the Bygmalion scandal.
Sarkozy, who has always denied any wrongdoing in the matter, will appeal against the order. “The clear disagreement between the two magistrates in charge of the matter is such a rare event that it is worth underlining, as it illustrates the inanity of the decision,” said Sarkozy’s lawyer, Thierry Herzog, according to BBC.
If Sarkozy faces trial, he will be the second French president to do so since 1958. In 2011, Jacques Chirac was awarded a two-year suspended prison sentence for embezzlement of public money and abusing public trust.