There are fresh accusations alleging that Nicolas Sarkozy received cash from France’s richest woman for political campaigning before he became president – claims he strongly denies.
A senior judge maintains a nurse saw Sarkozy given money at the home of L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, although no formal claim was made.
The allegations, published in a new book, with excerpts appearing in Wednesday’s edition of Liberation newspaper, have been angrily dismissed by the Elysée as “scandalous, unfounded and false”.
The accusations are not new, but this is said to be the first time a top judge has given them weight by speaking publicly.
Interviewed for her book “Sarkozy Killed Me”, Isabelle Prévost-Desprez claims witnesses were “afraid” and that she was taken off the case to prevent it from damaging the president ahead of next year’s election.
The investigation into Liliane Bettencourt’s complicated financial affairs is now being dealt with in Bordeaux.
It has cost a former minister his job over claims he peddled influence, although the billionaire herself has ended the three-year feud with her daughter which was at the root of the affair.