French president Sarkozy’s ally Eric Woerth indicted in Libya campaign financing probe

Les Républicains MP Eric Woerth at France’s National Assembly on June 27, 2017, in Paris.

The treasurer of Nicolas Sarkozy’s successful 2007 run for the French presidency has been charged as part of an investigation into suspected illicit financing of the campaign with Libyan money, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Eric Woerth, who was budget minister and later labour minister in Sarkozy’s government, is facing charges of “complicity in illegal campaign financing”, said his lawyer, Jean-Yves Leborgne.

“This indictment is based on the discovery of cash sums, very small if not outright ridiculous considering the cost of a presidential campaign,” Leborgne said.

He added that Woerth had told investigators that cash payments totaling some 30,000 euros ($35,000) had been given to campaign workers.

Woerth, a prominent rightwing MP who heads parliament’s finance committee, has previously admitted the campaign received cash payments which he said were anonymous donations received by post, a claim contested by others questioned in the case.

Sarkozy has denied claims that he accepted millions of euros from the former Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi, some of it delivered in cash-stuffed suitcases.

After two days of questioning in March he was charged with corruption, illegal campaign financing and concealment of Libyan public money, though he was vowed to clear his name.

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