Corruption in France: Ex-President Sarkozy sentenced to imprisonment

Status: 01.03.2021 3:31 p.m.

In 2014 he tried to illegally obtain information through bribery: France’s ex-President Sarkozy has been sentenced to imprisonment for corruption. But he probably doesn’t have to go to jail.

A court in Paris has sentenced former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to three years’ imprisonment for corruption, two of which are suspended. The judges saw it as proven that the former head of state tried to bribe a judicial officer. Sarkozy will probably not have to go to prison because the sentence can be served at home under electronic surveillance.

According to the indictment, Sarkozy had promised judicial officer Gilbert Azibert a dream job in Monaco in 2014 in exchange for confidential information about investigations to fund his election campaign. Sarkozy had denied all allegations and said he was a victim of lies.

Recordings burden Sarkozy

The allegations stem from recordings of Sarkozy’s conversations with his lawyer Thierry Herzog after he left the presidency. The conversation was tapped in connection with another illegal payment for his election campaign from Libya. There had been a heated argument about the legality of this wiretapping. The procedure is considered to be one-time.

The intercepted phone calls made the investigators convinced that Sarkozy and Herzog would promise the judicial officer Azibert a post in Monaco if he would pass on information about a legal case in connection with the L’OrĂ©al heiress Liliane Bettencourt. In the latter case, investigations against Sarkozy were closed.

The court ruled that the facts were “particularly serious” because the offenses were committed by a previous president who had taken advantage of his status. As a former lawyer, Sarkozy was “perfectly informed” about committing an illegal act.

Another trial awaits Sarkozy

In addition to Sarkozy, Herzog and Azibert were also indicted. They received the same sentence as Sarkozy. They also deny wrongdoing

Sarkozy was President from 2007 to 2012. He now has ten days to appeal the verdict. After Jacques Chirac, he is the second former French head of state to be convicted of corruption.

In March, Sarkozy has to face another process, along with 13 other people. He is accused of illegally funding his 2012 presidential campaign.

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