The former French president was found guilty of trafficking in influence and corruption. The lawyer has already announced that he will appeal. Sarkozy returns to court on March 17 to be tried in another case.
The former President of the French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, was sentenced to three years in prison for trafficking in influence and active corruption, two of which were suspended, advances Le Monde. The politician, who is the second French president to be sentenced, will appeal the decision, as his lawyer has already announced. Sarkozy left the court on Monday without making any statement.
At stake are acts that Sarkozy will have performed in 2014 when asking for confidential information from a magistrate, Gilbert Azibert. In return, the French politician is said to have promised Azibert a position in Monaco. According to the French Public Prosecutor’s Office, there was a “corruption pact”. As the same newspaper reports, both Sarkozy and Azibert were unable to obtain the benefits for the acts for which they are now condemned: the former French president will not have obtained the information he wanted about the investigation into the illegal financing of the 2007 presidential campaign by L’Oreal Liliane Bettencourt, and the magistrate never got the desired position in Monaco.
According to the conviction of the Paris Criminal Court, Sarkozy “used his status as ex-president of the Republic” to obtain benefits. “The offenses seriously undermined the public’s confidence by instilling the idea that the decisions of the Court of Cassation [French higher court of appeal] can be the subject of private agreements,” the sentence also states.
Sarkozy has always denied the facts, considering himself innocent. According to the politician’s lawyer, Thierry Herzog, who was also convicted in the context of this process, this was a case that involved “fantasies” and was based on “illegal eavesdropping”. At the end of November, when the trial began, Sarkozy said: “I do not recognize any of the infamies with which I have been harassed for six years.”
Before Nicolas Sarkozy, only one ex-president, Jacques Chirac, was tried and convicted in 2011 in a case of fictitious jobs in the city of Paris, but without ever appearing in court, for health reasons.
Sarkozy, who is now 66, and who was President of France between 2007 and 2012, will have to return to court later this March, on the 17th, for another trial. This time the Bygmalion case, related to the financing of his 2012 presidential campaign. The investigation was opened two years later when it was realized that the 22 million euros that had been set as a limit had passed. The former President will have resorted to the communication company Bygmalion, to hide the excessive costs of the campaign.