Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy will face trial over charges he misused his influence to secure leaked details of an inquiry into alleged irregularities in his 2007 election campaign, a source close to the investigation said yesterday.
Sarkozy's lawyers said he would appeal the decision to send him to court, initially reported by the daily Le Monde.
"Nicolas Sarkozy will ... calmly wait for the result of the motion for a declaration of invalidity. He does not doubt that once again the truth will triumph," his lawyers said in a statement. His appeal will be heard on June 25, it said.
The case came about after investigators used phone-taps to examine separate allegations that late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi funded Sarkozy's campaign and began to suspect he had kept tabs on a separate case through a network of informants.
Yesterday's development came just over a week after Sarkozy, 63, was told he was being formally treated as a suspect in the election campaign investigation.
Sarkozy was president from 2007 to 2012 but was defeated by Socialist Francois Hollande when he ran for re-election. He has since faced a series of investigations into alleged corruption, fraud, favoritism and campaign-funding irregularities.
Based on the intercepts, Sarkozy is accused of having discussed offering a promotion to a prosecutor in return for tip-offs on an investigation into accusations that his former party treasurer and others exploited the mental frailty of France's richest woman, Liliane Bettencourt, to extract political donations in cash.
The source close to the investigation said that along with Sarkozy, one of his lawyers, Thierry Herzog, and the prosecutor would also face trial on the same charges.
Influence-peddling can be punished in France by up to five years in prison and a fine of 500,000 euros ($682,000).