Former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin has been placed under formal investigation amid claims he tried to smear Nicolas Sarkozy and damage his chances of winning the presidency. Emerging from a grilling by judges in Paris, Villepin denied any wrongdoing.
“I would really like to repeat that I, at no time, asked for political personalities to be investigated,” he told reporters. “At no time did I participate in any political scheming.”
Facing preliminary charges including “complicity in libellous allegations,” Villepin’s home and office have already been searched. He has appealed against a judicial supervision order which notably bars him from meeting ex- president Jacques Chirac.
Villepin is expected to say the probe should come under the jurisdiction of a special tribunal that examines the actions of ministers.