Former President Nicolas Sarkozy has been hauled in for questioning, and France is suddenly in uncharted territory.
French presidential candidates Hollande and Sarkozy clash in television debate.
Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande go head-to-head in the only televised debate before Sunday's vote.
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.
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."
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has been detained for questioning, as part of an investigation into corruption.
Europe Editor James Mates has tweeted:
Unprecedented for a former president to be held in this way. #Sarkozy thought to have been planning a return to frontline politics.
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is being held for questioning, as part of a corruption investigation, Reuters reports.
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.
French President Francois Hollande is sitting next to his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela.
Preliminary charges have been filed against the former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, the AP news agency is reporting.
Mr Sarkozy is being investigated over allegations of taking advantage of a vulnerable person by taking campaign funds from the L'Oreal heiress, which he has denied.
The former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been placed under formal investigation relating to a case involving L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, Reuters has reported.
A judicial source told the news agency Mr Sarkozy was being investigated over allegations of taking advantage of a vulnerable person.
The former French president has repeatedly denied taking campaign funds from Ms Bettencourt, France's richest woman.
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has been placed under formal investigation for taking advantage of a vulnerable person, Reuters is reporting.
Nicolas Sarkozy was beaten in the French presidential elections last May and many thought he would disappear into private life.There's been talk he might even move to London to avoid his rival François Hollande's proposed 75% tax on top earners.
I gather that at a dinner in Davos last night he ruled out a move to the UK and hinted strongly that he may return to politics, saying he has more work to do. News perhaps for the current leader of Sarkozy's party, Jean-François Copé.
Both candidates fighting to become the next leader of France's main opposition party have claimed victory in a contest that has been marred by allegations of voting irregularities.
Jean-Francois Cope and former prime minister Francois Fillon both claimed victory within thirty minutes of one another last night.
Supporters of Cope said he was 1,000 votes ahead, while Fillon said he had a lead of more than 200 votes. Both camps have made accusations of vote fraud.
The contest to replace Nicolas Sarkozy as leader of the UMP party will now go to an internal voting commission who will announce the official results.
Police raided the home and offices of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy today as part of a judicial inquiry into financial relations between his political camp and the richest woman in France, L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.
Sarkozy's lawyer, Thierry Herzog, said the raids, a day after his client had left for Canada on holiday would show nothing and that he had already supplied information to investigators that debunked suspicions of secret meetings with Bettencourt.