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PARIS: French prosecutors said Friday that they had slapped criminal conspiracy charges on former president Nicolas Sarkozy over claims he used Libyan cash for his 2007 election campaign. The charge for "membership in a criminal conspiracy" was brought on Monday, the prosecutors told AFP.

It adds to charges lodged in 2018 of "passive corruption," "benefitting from embezzled public funds" and "illegal campaign financing" for which Sarkozy already faces trial. The latest charge, which can be appealed under French law, came after prosecutors interviewed the rightwing conservative for more than 40 hours over four days.

Prosecutors suspect that Sarkozy and his associates received dozens of millions of euros from the regime of former strongman Moamer Kadhafi to help finance his election bid. Sarkozy, who was president from 2007 to 2012, has denied any wrongdoing, saying on his Facebook page Friday that his "innocence has been tarnished" by the charges, without "even the slightest proof."

He said that during the questioning "I answered every question I was asked without ever being put in difficulty."

Last month, a Paris appeals court threw out Sarkozy's bid to have the investigation dismissed, making a trial more likely.