Page last updated at 14:19 GMT, Monday, 20 October 2008 15:19 UK

Sarkozy bank account theft probe

French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Quebec City, Canada, 18 October 2008
Small amounts of money are thought to have been taken from Mr Sarkozy

The French government has begun an investigation after internet hackers stole money from President Nicolas Sarkozy's bank account.

The thieves managed to get hold of Mr Sarkozy's personal account number. It is unlikely they knew it was his account, said a source.

The crime was reported by a French Sunday newspaper. Only small amounts of money are thought to have been taken.

Mr Sarkozy's office confirmed that a complaint had been filed last month.

"This was a classic case of data privacy, likely by one or several low-key swindlers," a source close to the inquiry told AFP new agency.

The fact that Mr Sarkozy's bank might face some penalty over the "misuse of personal data" has not been ruled out, a government spokesman, Luc 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," he added.

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