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French police probe Sarkozy bank fraud

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French police are on the hunt for fraudsters who siphoned off money from the personal bank account of French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

The French head of state has filed a criminal complaint about unauthorised withdrawls from his account. News of the theft, which reportedly took place last month and involved modest amounts of money, broke on Sunday via reports in French paper Le Journal du Dimanche.

Sources told French news agency AFP that the fraudsters who compromised the account most probably did not realise it belonged to the French head of state. Given his high international profile that comes as a bit of a surprise, and points to the idea that a cybercrime ring outside of France was pulling the strings. Any local money mules involved must have been particularly dumb not to realise that they were doing something likely to bring down a great deal of police attention.

Details as to how Sarkozy's account was compromised are scant. Some international reports speculate that crooks obtained the login credentials for Sarkozy's bank account, but this is not reflected by local reports and looks like guesswork.

Government spokesman Luc Chatel confirmed that an investigation has been launched, adding comments suggesting the possibility that Sarkozy's bank might face punishment for not preventing the breach. ®

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