Detectives seek to establish if former president was employed to lobby on behalf of the firm

The former French president Nicolas Sarkozy is facing a preliminary investigation for influence peddling in connection with a €3m (£2.7) contract he signed with a Russian insurance company.

The rightwing politician reportedly received a first payment of €500,000 last year after being hired as a “special adviser” to the Reso-Garantia group, owned by two Russian-Armenian billionaire brothers.

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