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French police detain Sarkozy lawyer in graft probe

Thierry HerzogNicolas Sarkozy’s lawyer has been held for questioning in one of several corruption investigations now involving the former French president.

Investigators are seeking to establish whether Sarkozy, with the help of his lawyer Thierry Herzog, attempted to pervert the course of justice, France 24 reported Monday.

Two magistrates were also detained.

Police want to know whether Sarkozy tried to obtain inside information from one of the magistrates about another corruption probe.

The detention of Herzog and the two magistrates was "seen as a step towards Sarkozy himself being taken into custody for questioning and potentially charged – a move that would be devastating for his hopes of a political comeback in time for the next presidential campaign in 2017," the report said.

French law allows suspects in criminal cases to be held for up to 48 hours before they must be either charged or released.

The report said Sarkozy allegedly received up to €50 million ($68 million) from former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi for his 2007 presidential campaign, and cash from France's richest woman, L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.

Sarkozy has denied any wrongdoing.

His campaign treasurer is one of ten people awaiting trial in the case, France 24 said.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.