France's Sarkozy cleared in campaign finance case


PARIS — French judges have dropped an investigation into former President Nicolas Sarkozy over allegations that he illegally took donations from France’s richest woman on the way to his 2007 election victory.

An official in the prosecutor’s office in the southwestern Bordeaux said investigating magistrates today threw out the case against Sarkozy for a lack of evidence. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because she wasn’t permitted to speak to the press.

The conservative Sarkozy lost the presidency to Socialist Francois Hollande last year.

Ten others are expected to go to trial next year on charges including alleged fraud and abuse of someone in an impaired state in the case. It involves Liliane Bettencourt, the 90-year-old L’Oreal cosmetics heiress.

Speculation is rife Sarkozy might run for president again in 2017.