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Sarkozy ally questions impartiality of investigation

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy attends the inauguration of the Alzheimer center Pompidou in Nice with Christian Estrosi (L). Credit: Press Association Images

One of the allies of Nicolas Sarkozy has expressed doubts over the fairness and impartiality of one of the magistrates investigating the ex-French president over allegations of corruption.

"I question the impartiality of one of the judges," Christian Estrosi, the mayor of the southern city of Nice told France Info radio, accusing Hollande's government of having whipped up "an atmosphere of hate".

More: President Sarkozy 'one level away' from official charges

President Sarkozy 'one level away' from official charges

Former French President Nicholas Sarkozy has been placed under formal investigation by investigators after a hearing late on Tuesday night.

.As ITV News Europe Editor James Mates reports, this is one level below an official charge.

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Fmr Pres #Sarkozy placed under formal investigation early today for influence peddling, corruption. 1 level below being officially charged.

Under French law, when a suspect is placed under formal investigation, he or she is then examined by a judge, who determines whether there is sufficient evidence for the suspect to be charged.

More: Sarkozy detained: French Connection meets ‘The Wire’

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Police escort Sarkozy to hearing before judge

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been escorted by police to a hearing before a judge in relation to allegations of corruption, influence-peddling and the "breach of professional secrets".

Nicolas Sarkozy in the back of a car driven by police. Credit: Reuters

Mr Sarkozy has not been charged but he is now under "formal investigation", as are his lawyer and a judge suspected of being connected to the allegations.

Read: Sarkozy detained: French Connection meets ‘The Wire’

Nicolas Sarkozy 'under investigation over corruption'

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is under formal investigation relating to allegations of corruption.

He is suspected of influence peddling, corruption and benefiting from "the breach of professional secrets," Reuters reports the prosecutor's office as saying.

Mr Sarkozy was earlier held for questions over suspicions he received leaked details of an inquiry into alleged irregularities in his 2007 election campaign

He and his lawyer appeared before a judge on Tuesday evening before being released in the early hours of the morning.

The investigation may be a major blow to his hopes of returning to front-line French politics following his defeat to Francois Hollande in the 2012 presidential election.

Read: Sarkozy detained: French Connection meets ‘The Wire’

French burqa ban not discriminatory, court declares

The French burqa ban does not breach human rights laws and is not discriminatory, the European Court of Human Rights has declared.

The case, which has important implications for the UK, followed a complaint by a French woman, who is a practising Muslim, that she is no longer allowed to wear the full-face veil because of a law prohibiting concealment of the face in public places in France.

The French ban on face covering was passed in 2010. Credit: PA

The European Court's Grand Chamber declared that the law did not violate the right to respect for privacy and family.

It also said there had been no violation of the protection of respect for freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

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Sarkozy questioned over his 2007 election campaign

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is being held for questioning over suspicions he received leaked details of an inquiry into alleged irregularities in his 2007 election campaign.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Credit: Reuters

It is the first time a former head of state had been held for questioning in modern French history and is the latest blow to Sarkozy's hopes of a come-back after his 2012 election defeat by Francois Hollande.

The conservative politician denies all wrong-doing in a string of investigations involving him.

Asked about the matter, government spokesman Stephane Le Foll said Sarkozy was "subject to justice like everyone else."

'Unprecedented' for ex president to be held in this way

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has been detained for questioning, as part of an investigation into corruption.

Europe Editor James Mates has tweeted:

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Unprecedented for a former president to be held in this way. #Sarkozy thought to have been planning a return to frontline politics.

Ex French president questioned in corruption probe

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is being held for questioning, as part of a corruption investigation, Reuters reports.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Credit: Reuters

Sarkozy arrived early this morning to be quizzed by investigators at their offices in Nanterre, west of Paris, after his lawyer was held for questioning on Monday.

"Mr. Sarkozy has been summoned to Nanterre and is being held for questioning," a source told Reuters.

Flight disruption warning as French strikes begin

Easyjet has been forced to cancel 32 services due to the strikes.
Easyjet has been forced to cancel 32 services due to the strikes. Credit: Ralf Hirschberger/DPA

Strikes by French air traffic control staff have led to dozens of European flights being cancelled, with some travel to, from and over the country affected.

The six-day industrial action has seen more than 50 flights cancelled already, with easyJet forced to cancel 32 services due to fly today while Ryanair dropped 26.

Experts have urged travellers to check their flight details before reaching the airport to find out if they will be affected.

None of the axed Ryanair or easyJet are flights that connect with the UK, and easyJet, which had feared it would have to axe around 50% of its French-connecting services, was told today by French air traffic control company DAGC that only 20% would have to be cancelled.

British Airways has, however, cancelled three UK flights tomorrow, from Heathrow to the French cities of Lyon, Marseille and Toulouse.

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