6 July 2012. Barely two weeks after Nicolas Sarkozy lost the immunity from prosecution which he had enjoyed as president, police searched his home and offices in Paris. They were looking for evidence for his accepting a donation of Euros 150,000 for his election campaign. It is unprecedented for a former head of state in France to be subjected to a police raid in this manner. Sarkozy was away from home and on a vacation to Canada. He was informed of the searches by telephone. The contribution is not a huge amount for a campaign, but under French law, private individuals are allowed to contribute no more than 4,600 euros. The money came from employees of France’s richest woman, the L’Oreal cosmetics heiress Liliane Bettencourt. Mr Sarkozy strenuously denies the claim. While Mr Sarkozy was still in office, another former president, Jacques Chirac, was convicted of corruption and given a suspended two-year sentence.