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Ex-President Sarkozy's home, offices searched

An official says French investigators have searched the home and offices of former President Nicolas Sarkoz.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, smiles as he greets German Chancellor Angela Merkel prior to their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Monday Dec. 5, 2011. The leaders of Germany and France will try to agree Monday on a cohesive plan to help save the euro through stricter oversight of government budgets. Financial markets signaled optimism that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will unveil a unified plan that tightens political and economic cooperation among the 17 European Union countries that use the euro and sets the stage for more aggressive aid from the European Central Bank. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

PARIS (AP) -- An official says French investigators have searched the home and offices of former President Nicolas Sarkozy as part of a probe into suspected illegal financing of his 2007 presidential campaign.

The official says Judge Jean-Michel Gentil and other investigators from the Paris financial crimes unit conducted the search. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to be publicly named discussing an ongoing investigation.

The probe centers on the finances of France's richest woman, L'Oreal cosmetics heiress Lilliane Bettencourt.

Allegations have emerged that she provided illegal campaign cash to Sarkozy's party. Sarkozy, who lost the presidency to Francois Hollande in May elections, denies the claims.


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