Sunday, December 5

Nicolas Sarkozy: Former French President Sentenced To Prison For Illegal Campaign Finance

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was sentenced to one year in jail on Thursday after being found guilty of illegally financing his 2012 election campaign.

Sarkozy, 66, who denied wrongdoing, was not in court to face the ruling. His attorney has confirmed that he will appeal.

He was accused of having spent some 22.5 million euros, almost double the legal maximum amount, for his 2012 reelection campaign. He continued to lose to socialist Francois Hollande.

Prosecutors believe Sarkozy knew weeks before the vote that his spending, which is strictly limited under French law, was approaching the legal maximum. They accused him of having ignored two notes from his accountants warning about the money issue.

He is not accused of being part of the false invoice system at the heart of the fraud, but prosecutors argued that Sarkozy is “the only person responsible for financing his campaign” and that he chose to exceed the limit by organizing many rallies, including the giant. some.

Prosecutors had requested a year in prison, including a six-month suspension, and a fine of 3,750 euros.

The president of the 11th Chamber of Corrections, Caroline Viguier, said Sarkozy “continued to organize meetings” despite being “warned in writing of the risk of exceeding” the legal limit.

“This was not his first campaign, he had experience as a candidate,” the magistrate continued.

In addition to the former president, 13 other people, including members of his conservative Republican party, accountants and heads of the Bygmalion communication group in charge of organizing the demonstrations, were also found guilty of complicity in illegal campaign financing. They were sentenced to prison terms of two to three and a half years.

Some had acknowledged wrongdoing and detailed the false invoice system that was intended to cover up the overspending.

Prosecutors had requested most of the suspended prison terms and up to one year in prison for the Bygmalion co-founder.

The verdict comes six months after he was found guilty of corruption and influence peddling in another case and sentenced to one year in prison and two years in suspension, becoming the first former French president to receive a prison sentence that includes time without remission. .

It is free pending appeal.

The former French leader is also under investigation for allegations that he took money from former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to finance his successful 2007 presidential campaign and for influence peddling in cases related to his advisory activities in Russia. The latter aims to determine whether he “participated in potentially criminal lobbying activities” on behalf of the Russian oligarchs.

Sarkozy retired from active politics in 2017, but continues to play a behind-the-scenes role. French media have reported that he is involved in the process of choosing a conservative candidate ahead of France’s presidential elections next year.

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