Paris: The leader of France’s embattled centre-right opposition quit on Tuesday following claims that invoices for former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2012 election campaign were fraudulently billed as party expenses, reports AFP. Jean-Francois Cope agreed to step down at the request of fellow heavyweights in the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) following the latest twist in an scandal engulfing him and a PR firm owned by two close friends. The 50-year-old leader’s position became untenable after Sarkozy’s former deputy campaign director gave an explosive television interview on Monday evening. Jerome Lavrilleux tearfully claimed that bills for Sarkozy’s failed 2012 re-election campaign were passed off as invoices for party meetings in order to skirt round France’s strict limits on campaign financing. Lavrilleux claimed that neither Sarkozy nor Cope were aware of what was being done. “I didn’t have the courage to say ‘stop, we have gone too far’,” he said.

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