French ex-president ordered to stand trial

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(BBC) A French judge has ordered ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy to stand trial in an illegal campaign finance case.

Mr Sarkozy faces accusations that his party falsified accounts in order to hide 18m euros (£15m; US$20m) of campaign spending in 2012.

Mr Sarkozy led France from 2007-2012

Mr Sarkozy denies he was aware of the overspending, and will appeal against the order to stand trial.

He lost the 2012 race, and failed in his bid to run again in this year’s upcoming presidential election.

The case is known as the Bygmalion scandal.

It centres on claims that Mr Sarkozy’s party, then known as the UMP, connived with a friendly PR company to hide the true cost of his 2012 presidential election campaign.

France sets limits on campaign spending, and it is alleged the firm Bygmalion invoiced Mr Sarkozy’s party rather than the campaign, allowing the UMP to spend almost double the amount permitted.

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