Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was taken into custody Tuesday in connection with allegations that he received millions of euros in illegal campaign financing from the regime of late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
A judicial source with direct knowledge of the case told The Associated Press that Sarkozy was being held at the Nanterre police station, northwest of Paris. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
Sarkozy, 63, has vehemently and repeatedly denied wrongdoing in the case, which involves funding for his winning 2007 presidential campaign.
A lawyer for the former president did not respond to a message from the AP seeking comment.
The investigation underway since 2013 gained traction when French-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine told the online investigative site Mediapart in 2016 that he delivered suitcases from Libya containing 5 million euros ($6.2 million) in cash to Sarkozy and his former chief of staff, Claude Gueant.
Investigators are examining claims that Gadhafi’s regime secretly gave Sarkozy 50 million euros overall for the 2007 French campaign. The sum would be more than double the legal campaign funding limit at the time, 21 million euros. In addition, the alleged payments would violate French rules against foreign financing and declaring the source of campaign funds.
A former top aide of Sarkozy’s, former minister Brice Hortefeux, was questioned Tuesday but not detained.
Hortefeux said on Twitter that the precisions he gave to investigators “should help put an end to a series of mistakes and lies.”