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  1. ITV Report

Ex-French president Nicolas Sarkozy to face corruption trial

Nicolas Sarkozy, who is accused of corruption, stands with fellow former president François Hollande. Credit: PA

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy is to stand trial on charges of corruption and influence peddling.

It is the latest in a string of corruption charges being faced by the ex-president, and the second case in which he has been ordered to stand trial.

In the latest case, Sarkozy, 63, who denies any wrongdoing ahead of both trials, is accused of illegally trying to get information from a judge about an investigation targeting him.

In a separate case, prosecutors allege Sarkozy received €50m from the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi to illegally fund his successful presidential campaign in 2007.

Nicolas Sarkozy meets Libya's President Moammar Gadhafi at Bab Azizia Palace in Tripoli, Libya. Credit: PA

He was arrested last week in relation to the Gaddafi charge and was released after 25 hours of questioning.

“There is no proof ... not even the slightest beginning of any proof,” Sarkozy told French TV after he was placed under formal investigation.

He added: “I have never betrayed the trust of the French people.”

Mr Sarkozy's lawyer Thierry Herzog is also being ordered to stand trial, along with former magistrate Gilbert Azibert.

Mr Sarkozy has objected to the case because part of the investigation is based on information obtained from tapped phone conversations between him and his lawyer.

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy is interviewed by on the ‘20 Heures’ news bulletin on TF1 channel in France. Credit: PA

The pair are accused of promising the magistrate a job in Monaco in exchange for information about an investigation into suspected illegal financing of Mr Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign by France's richest woman, L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.

Last year, a judge ordered a trial for Mr Sarkozy and 13 others on charges of illegal financing of his 2012 presidential campaign.

In that case, his conservative party and a company named Bygmalion are accused of using a special invoice system to conceal unauthorised overspending.

Mr Sarkozy has said he has been unfairly targeted by investigators for political reasons.

He failed to win his party's primary for the 2017 presidential election and has largely stayed out of politics since then.