Prosecutor opens probe after Sarkozy donation claim

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Prosecutors launched an investigation after a former accountant for France's richest woman said President Nicolas Sarkozy's campaign treasurer accepted an illegal donation, officials said Wednesday.

The prosecutor's office in the western Paris suburb of Nanterre has asked fraud squad officers to probe Claire Thibout's claim that Eric Woerth, now labour minister, received 150,000 euros in cash in early 2007.

At the time, Thibout was working for l'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, whom she alleges was in the habit of making regular cash payments to French politicians, including Woerth and the future president.

© 2010 AFP

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