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Lawyer: Preliminary charges filed against French ex-President Sarkozy in campaign finance case

A lawyer says preliminary charges have been filed against former President Nicolas Sarkozy in connection with allegations he illegally took donations from France's richest woman for his 2007 election campaign.

Lawyer Antoine Gillot told French TV i-Tele that Judge Jean-Michel Gentil in the southwestern city of Bordeaux placed Sarkozy under investigation — a step short of formal charges — after hours of questioning Thursday.

Sarkozy in November was named a key and potentially indictable witness in an investigation involving 90-year-old L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.

Gillot represents former butler, who was also questioned Thursday along with Sarkozy.