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.
An IFOP poll published this evening shows Nicolas Sarkozy is now just 4% behind Francois Hollande: 52-48%.
He has gained two points in 24 hours - and the gap is now within the margin of error.
It seems the late momentum is all with Sarkozy. It seems the public responded well to his 'presidential' debating style versus the more aggressive Hollande.
Supporters of the French presidential candidate Francois Hollande gathered at a rally in Toulouse in southern France today.
The Socialist party leader is ahead of Nicolas Sarkozy in opinion polls by six to 10 points. Both leaders are battling for votes ahead of Sunday's decisive runoff election.
Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande go head-to-head in the only televised debate before Sunday's vote.Read the full story ›