Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was charged Wednesday with corruption and taking illegal campaign contributions from the Libyan government.
Police took him into custody in Paris Tuesday for questioning.
Prosecutors believe part of his successful 2007 campaign was illegally financed by as much as €50 million ($61 million) from Libya’s government.
Sarkozy, 63, denies the allegations. He has blamed revenge seekers upset about France’s leadership of the military action in 2011 to remove Muammar Gaddafi from power.
Sarkozy served as president from May 2007 until May 2012.
A document allegedly written by the former head of the Libyan secret service promised Sarkozy money for his campaign. French media published the leaked document in March 2012.
In 2016, a French-Lebanese arms dealer, Ziad Takieddine, said he delivered €5 million ($6.1 million) in cash to Sarkozy.
Despite Wednesday’s charges, it isn’t clear whether Sarkozy will face trial. The magistrate overseeing his case could decide there isn’t enough evidence to go forward, or that the evidence proves his innocence.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.