Former French President Sarkozy to Face Trial for Fraud

Mr Sarkozy and 13 others will go to court to answer allegations that his presidential campaign spending went above the legal limit of £19.4 million.

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.

The prosecution claims Sarkozy greatly exceeded a spending limit of 22.5 million euros ($24 million) by using false billing from a public relations firm called Bygmalion.

Sarkozy has repeatedly denied knowledge of the overspending.

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.

The son of a Hungarian immigrant father, Sarkozy was nicknamed the "bling-bling" president for his flashy displays of wealth. "The clear disagreement between the two magistrates in charge of the matter is such a rare event that it is worth underlining, as it illustrates the inanity of the decision", said Sarkozy's lawyer, Thierry Herzog, according to BBC.

The trial order comes at a time when French politicians face growing scrutiny over their personal and political finances in the build-up to this year's presidential election in April and May.

Francois Fillon, the centre-right presidential candidate has faced embezzlement allegations in recent weeks after reports his wife was paid with taxpayer money for a bogus job as a parliamentary assistant.

Former leader Jacques Chirac was given a two-year suspended prison sentence in 2011 for diverting public funds and abusing public trust.

  • Joey Payne