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Judge makes Sarkozy witness

Former president questioned for 12 hours over his role in the Bettencourt affair

FORMER president Nicolas Sarkozy has been made a witness in an investigation into the exploitation of France's richest woman.

The president was questioned for 12 hours yesterday by a court in Bordeaux over allegations of illegal funding to his 2007 election campaign.

Sarkozy, 57, denies any wrong doing and, after yesterday's grilling, will be considered a témoin assisté, witness, in the case rather than face charges.

The case dates back to 2010 but Sarkozy was not questioned until now due to his presidential judicial immunity.

Judges are seeking to find out if France's richest woman, Liliane Bettencourt, the L'Oreal heiress, was exploited.

The case spilled into the political arena when tapes leaked of Bettencourt's accountant discussing secret Swiss bank accounts and payments to Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign team.

France's finance minister at the time of the allegations, Eric Woerth, resigned as a result. He had been implicated as receiving undeclared funding from the Bettencourt family in envelopes while he was treasurer for Sarkozy's election team.

For more details on the case see: Sarkozy appears in court over scandal
Photo:Flickr/Moritz Hager

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