Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been questioned over claims his 2007 election campaign received illegal donations from France's richest woman.
It is the first time that Sarkozy has been questioned since losing presidential immunity. He denies any wrongdoing.
He was the mayor of the wealthiest suburb in Paris. It gave him access to the country's richest woman. And, over the years, Mr Sarkozy had forged a close friendship with Liliane Bettencourt. He was, said staff, a regular visitor to the family home in Neuilly.
But the allegation is that in the final few months of the 2007 election, Mr Sarkozy took advantageof the ageing L'Oreal heiress, persuading her to part with huge amounts of money to help bankroll his bid for the presidency. An accountant who worked for Ms Bettencourt claims tens of thousands of euros were handed over to his campaign manager Eric Woerth; and, on a separate occasion, Mr Sarkozy came in person, she said, to "receive his envelope" stuffed with cash.
The former President has repeatedly denied the allegations, but, on the orders of the judge, his office and home were raided in July. Today, one poll suggested the majority of French people would prefer Mr Sarkozy to return and lead his fractured party. Certainly, he harbours those ambitions, but his chances of a return could yet be poisoned by the inquiry he's facing.
suburb: pinggiran kota besar
forged a close friendship: berteman dekat
took advantage of: memanfaatkan untuk kepentingan pribadi
heiress: ahli waris
bankroll: mendukung secara finansial
handed over: diberikan
stuffed: penuh dengan
harbours those ambitions: masih berambisi