The solar system of Sarkozy’s legal woes

The legal noose has been tightening around former French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The former centre-right leader was placed under formal investigation on Tuesday, July 1, 2014, over suspected influence-peddling.

The day before, three other people – including Sarkozy’s lawyer and two prosecutors – were also placed under formal investigation, a step that may or may not lead to a trial.

This is the first time a former French president has been held in police custody, although ex-presidents have faced corruption charges before.

The 59-year-old former president has faced virtually non-stop legal battles since he left office, including a number of inquiries into corruption allegations and wrongdoings.

The current case relates to allegations that he used his influence to get illegal insider information on another investigation into illegal funding for his 2007 election campaign from the late Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi.

The influence-peddling allegations are based on phone intercepts of conversations between Sarkozy and his lawyer, Thierry Herzog, amid suggestions that the former president had a network of informants into some of his legal cases.