| 6.2°C Dublin

French judge accuses Sarkozy of accepting illegal cash contributions

A judge will today accuse French President Nicolas Sarkozy of accepting illegal cash contributions to his 2007 election campaign from France's wealthiest woman.

The accusation is made in a new book, 'Sarko m'a tuer' ('Sarko Killed Me') by 'Le Monde' journalists Gerard Davet and Fabrice Lhomme.

Judge Isabelle Prevost-Desprez tells the authors of the investigative book that pressure from the Elysee Palace forced her to be removed from her inquiries into political aspects of the affair. Earlier, she said she had received evidence from an eyewitness that Mr Sarkozy accepted a cash payment in 2007 from the L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt (88).

The judge's new claim was dismissed yesterday by leading Sarkozy allies. The Elysee Palace said: "These allegations are scandalous and untruthful."

Irish Independent