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Sarkozy house, office raided

world Updated: Jul 05, 2012 00:19 IST
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French police raided former French president Nicolas Sarkozy's residence and offices as part of an investigation into illegal campaign funding. They were specifically looking for brown envelopes of cash from France's wealthiest woman, the L'Oreal hairspray heiress Liliane Bettencourt.

Police searched the mansion rented by Carla Bruni in a chic gated community in west Paris, where she and Sarkozy live with Bruni's 11-year-old son and the couple's new baby daughter. Officers also searched the office of the legal firm where Sarkozy is a partner and the new office he moved into after losing the presidential election to Socialist Francois Hollande in May.

The Sarkozys were not present as they had left for a Quebec chalet holiday on Monday, Sarkozy's lawyer said.

As president, Sarkozy had judicial immunity which protected him from legal investigations, but it expired on June 16.

A judge in Bordeaux is currently investigating whether Sarkozy's right-wing UMP party benefited from envelopes of cash from the aging and mentally fragile Bettencourt during Sarkozy's successful election campaign in 2007.

The investigating magistrate is trying to find out whether Sarkozy's campaign had received euro 800,000 in illegal funding, and whether transfers from Swiss accounts may have been handed over to Sarkozy's campaign treasurer or even to Sarkozy himself.