If he is, Sarkozy would be the first French president in the dock since Jacques Chirac, who preceded him at the helm of the country from 1995 to 2007. Chirac was convicted of misusing public funds and given a suspended jail term in 2011.
The so-called «Bygmalion» case against Sarkozy centres on accusations that his political party, then known as the UMP, worked with a friendly public relations firm to hide the true cost of his re-election bid.
France sets strict limits on campaign spending. Prosecutors allege the PR firm, Bygmalion, invoiced UMP rather than the campaign, allowing Sarkozy to spend almost double the permitted amount.
Even though investigating magistrates found no evidence that Sarkozy set up the fraudulent system, took part in it or was even informed about it, they considered it unlikely that he had left it solely to staff to take decisions on such matters.
Sarkozy has denied any wrongdoing.
«We can only be disappointed by this decision,» Sarkozy’s lawyer Emmanuel Piwnica told LCI TV station.
After five years in power, Sarkozy was defeated by Socialist Party candidate Francois Hollande in the 2012 election.
Sarkozy has since faced a series of investigations into allegations of corruption, fraud, favouritism and campaign-funding irregularities.
He has since retired from politics, after losing in a primary election bid to become his party’s candidate for the 2017 presidential election.