(AFP) – Oct 19, 2008
PARIS (AFP) — The French government has launched a probe into withdrawals by thieves from President Nicolas Sarkozy's personal bank account, said a senior official Sunday.
"An inquiry is underway, the President of the Republic has filed a complaint," government spokesman Luc Chatel told Radio J.
"We will see if there was fraud in a way in which the perpetrators can be sanctioned," he added.
News that thieves had managed to take out money from Sarkozy's bank account after obtaining his account number was first reported by the Sunday newspaper, Le Journal du Dimanche.
The thieves pirating the account likely "did not know that it was the president's account," a source close to the inquiry told AFP.
"This was a classic case of data piracy, likely by one or several low-level swindlers," the source added.
The president's office confirmed Sarkozy had filed complaints last month concerning the theft, which the newspaper quoted sources as saying involved only small amounts.
It "is not excluded" that Sarkozy's bank might face some penalty over "misuse of personal data," Chatel said.
"When one gives personal information to one's bank, it is not so the information is used for marketing or recruiting purposes, or that it should be divulged here or there," he added.
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