Former French president Sarkozy convicted of corruption, handed jail sentence

03 Mars, 2021, 08:46 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Ex-French president Nicolas Sarkozy sentenced to jail for corruption | ITV News

Sarkozy can serve the term at home.

Herzog and Azibert were also on trial with Sarkozy and similarly charged with corruption and influence peddling.

The court said Sarkozy's charges were "particularly serious" as they were committed by a former president who exploited his position.

While he was given three years in prison, he will only have to serve one of them and the judge allowed it to be carried out under house arrest, rather than in a correctional facility, according to Le Monde.

In addition, as a lawyer by training, he was "perfectly informed" about committing an illegal action, the court said.

A Paris court found that Sarkozy, 66, had tried to bribe a judge after leaving office, and to peddle influence in exchange for confidential information about an investigation into his 2007 campaign finances.

He is the second former president in modern France, after Jacques Chirac, to be convicted of corruption. He was given a two year suspended prison sentence for actions.

Sarkozy's long-running legal travails helped sink his comeback bid for the 2017 presidential vote, but he has surfed on a wave of popularity since announcing his retirement from politics in 2018.

The former president and his lawyer were found guilty of seeking to bribe judge Azibert for information on an inquiry into claims the former leader had received illicit payments from L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt during his successful 2007 presidential campaign.

Sarkozy left the court without speaking, but his lawyer said he would appeal, and prove his innocence.

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The case centred on conversations between the Magistrate involved Gilbert Azibert, and Thierry Herzog, Sarkozy's then-lawyer, which were taped by police in 2014.

As they did, they learned that Sarkozy and his lawyer were communicating using mobile phones registered under false names.

Sarkozy had firmly denied all the allegations during the trial.

While he'll remain out of prison for now, Sarkozy still faces more legal hurdles.

He told the court that his political life was all about "giving (people) a little help".

"I was 100 billion miles away from thinking we were doing something we did not have the right to do", he said.

Sarkozy said he had become the victim of a witch-hunt by financial prosecutors who had used excessive means to snoop on him.

He remains very popular amid conservative voters, however, and plays a major role behind the scenes, including through maintaining a relationship with Macron, whom he is said to advise on some issues.

Lines of fans queued over last summer to have him sign his latest memoir, "The Time of Storms", which topped best-seller lists for weeks.

His conservative party is suspected of having spent €42.8 million ($66.4 million), nearly twice the maximum authorised, to finance the campaign, which ended in victory for Socialist rival Francois Hollande. Sarkozy is accused of having fraudulently overspent in his 2012 presidential campaign.

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