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Charges shock Sarko

Paris, July 3: Hours after being put under formal investigation in a corruption and influence-peddling case, Nicolas Sarkozy, the former President of France, lashed out at the prosecution yesterday, saying again that he is innocent and expressing outrage at a case he said was being manipulated for political ends.

“I am profoundly shocked by what happened,” Sarkozy told the French broadcaster TF1, referring to the decision by anti-corruption investigators to take him into custody for questioning on Tuesday and then make him a target of their inquiry after months during which they tapped his telephone, examined his dealings with a judge and investigated his 2007 campaign finances. “The situation was sufficiently grave for me to tell the French people about the political exploitation of a part of the justice system today,” said Sarkozy.

Calling the accusations “grotesque,” he expressed anger that his private conversations had been secretly recorded by investigators. He suggested that he was being treated unfairly.

“Is it normal?” he asked, that he was kept for 15 hours in a police station before being taken to see two judges at 2am yesterday.The decision to open a formal inquiry suggests that investigators believe they have enough evidence to link Sarkozy to a crime.

 
 
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