Top allies to ex-French president Sarkozy released amid probe into unusual cash payments

Two close allies of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy have been released from police custody amid an investigation into suspected embezzling of public funds.

The Paris prosecutor's office said early Wednesday that Claude Gueant and Michel Gaudin were released without charge so far, but the probe is continuing.

The two high-profile figures were detained Tuesday. Gueant served as Sarkozy's chief of staff and France's interior minister, while Gaudin was France's national police chief. French media reports say the investigation involves envelopes of cash allegedly delivered to Gueant from 2002-2004, when Sarkozy was interior minister and Gueant was his top aide.

Sarkozy has not been publicly implicated in the case, though has faced other legal challenges. Sarkozy, who lost the presidency last year, may seek another term in 2017.