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French conservatives in campaign financing drama as far right on the rise

France's conservative party is in turmoil after accusations of financial wrongdoing in Nicolas Sarkozy's losing 2012 presidential campaign.

The trouble comes just as the far right topped the European Parliament elections, rocking France's political establishment.

French media reports say a company run by friends of the head of the conservative UMP party, Jean-Francois Cope, pocketed millions of euros for fictitious or overbilled campaign events during the 2012 presidential race.

A company lawyer, Patrick Maisonneuve, said it didn't pocket money unfairly but instead helped the UMP cover up more than 10 million in campaign expenses. France has a 22 million euro spending limit on presidential campaigns.

The party is holding a closely watched meeting Tuesday. Cope, facing calls to step down, has said that he was unaware of any wrongdoing.