Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy's home and offices were raided by French police in a dramatic new development in a political funding scandal.
Magistrates are investigating claims that house staff of Liliane Bettencourt, heiress to the L'Oréal cosmetics empire and France's richest woman, handed over brown envelopes stuffed with cash to Mr Sarkozy and his aides to finance his successful 2007 presidential campaign.
Officers from Paris's financial brigade raided a town mansion belonging to Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy where the former first couple live, as well the law firm where Mr Sarkozy used to be an associate, and the offices he is entitled to as former head of state.
Mr Sarkozy lost his presidential immunity on June 16, a month after leaving office, and there had been speculation that Bordeaux judge Jean-Michel Gentil would approach him as part of the illegal cash donation inquiry.
The judge is also investigating whether the aged billionaire's entourage is guilty of "abuse of weakness" – taking advantage of her waning mental capacities for financial gain.
Eleven people have already been charged in the case.
Mr Sarkozy and his wife were away on holiday in Canada when judge Gentil and a dozen fraud squad officers burst into their home in the chic 16th arrondissement, before moving onto the Arnaud, Claude and associates law firm which Mr Sarkozy part owns, and his offices in rue de Miromesnil near the Champs-Elysées.
Several former employees of Mrs Bettencourt and her late husband André have the told the judge that Mr Sarkozy discreetly turned up in person to their mansion in Neuilly at least twice before his election in February and April 2007. These staff members include her former chauffeur, nurse and butler.
French law limits individual donations to political parties to 7,500 euros per person per year and 4,600 euros during political campaigns. Only 150 euros may be given in cash.
2012-07-05 09:40 编辑：crystal156
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