Former French President Sarkozy to 'stand trial' over illegal campaign financing

Thirteen other people are also expected to be tried.

Some of the employees at Bygmalion already faced charges and they admitted they knew all along about the excess spending.

The source also said it was still possible that an appeal could be lodged against the trial order because it was signed by only one of the two magistrates in charge of the case.

Sarkozy stands accused of fraudulently funding his failed presidential bid in 2012 in the so-called Bygmalion affair.

The party allegedly conspired with a public relations firm Bygmalion, which falsely invoiced Sarkozy's party of 18 million euros rather than the poll campaign.

Sarkozy has always been embroiled in the investigation into alleged overspending on the presidential bid, which he lost to Socialist Francois Hollande after serving one term. Sarkozy's campaign spending had gone up to 45 million euros, reported The Guardian.

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Mr Sarkozy, who past year mounted a failed campaign for the presidential candidacy of his Republicans party, denies that he knew about the alleged scheme to falsify his 2012 accounts.

Sarkozy, who was defeated by Francois Fillon in November's Les Republicans party primary, is embroiled in several legal fights.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament is demanding France's far-right leader Marine Le Pen return funds it says she has misspent, by paying an aide at the National Front party's headquarters in Paris.

If Sarkozy faces trial, he will be the second French president to do so since 1958.

In 2011, former president Jacques Chirac was given a two-year suspended jail sentence in a scandal over fake jobs.

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