French singer Carla Bruni with Sarkozy and the Mayor of Paris' 16th district Jeremy Redler in a polling station during the vote of the second round of France's legislative election in Paris, on July 7, 2024. Image Credit: AFP

PARIS: Singer and model Carla Bruni-Sarkozy was being questioned by a French judge Tuesday in connection with an investigation into the alleged Libyan financing of her husband Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential campaign, which could lead to her being charged, sources told AFP.

Four sources familiar with the case said Bruni was brought before a Paris investigating magistrate for financial crime at 10am (0800 GMT).

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Her interview was “likely to continue” into Wednesday before she finds out whether she will be charged, one of the sources said.

According to one source close to the case, the 56-year-old singer is suspected of concealment of witness tampering and involvement in an attempt to bribe Lebanese judicial personnel, among other violations.

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Her lawyers, Paul Mallet and Benoit Martinez, did not immediately comment when contacted by AFP.

Sarkozy, 69, was charged in October 2023 with illegal witness tampering, as part of a probe into whether he took money from late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi to fund his 2007 election campaign.

Investigators suspect that several people, some close to Sarkozy, were involved in paying a key witness in that case to retract a statement he made incriminating the former president.

Bruni-Sarkozy could be charged or given the status of assisted witness, which under the French legal system falls short of being formally charged.

She has already been questioned twice by investigators, first as a witness in June 2023, then as a suspect in early May.

An investigation showed Bruni-Sarkozy deleted all messages exchanged with French “paparazzi queen” Michele Marchand on the day Marchand was charged with witness tampering in June 2021.

Franco-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine had claimed several times that he helped deliver up to five million euros ($5.4 million at current rates) in cash from Gaddafi to Sarkozy and his chief of staff in 2006 and 2007.

But in 2020, Takieddine suddenly retracted his incriminating statement, raising suspicions that Sarkozy and close allies may have paid the witness to change his mind.

Authorities took an interest in Bruni-Sarkozy when Marchand justified her trips to the Sarkozy home as social calls with the singer.

Sarkozy is set to stand trial in 2025 over the allegations that he conspired to take cash from the Libyan leader to illegally fund his subsequently victorious 2007 bid to become French president.

The right-wing politician, who ran France from 2007 to 2012, has faced a litany of legal woes since leaving office.