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Former President Sarkozy was sentenced to prison on charges of financing his election campaign

Former President Sarkozy was sentenced to prison on charges of financing his election campaign


Updated February 14, 2024 at 4:14 p.m

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was convicted again on Wednesday of illegal campaign financing. The court sentenced the 69-year-old man to one year in prison.

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The French Court of Appeal once again sentenced former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to prison on charges of exceeding the costs of his 2012 election campaign.

The sentence was slightly less than the first: judges in Paris on Wednesday imposed a year in prison, including six months of probation. Sarkozy had almost doubled the maximum electoral campaign costs, which was 22.5 million euros.

Former President Sarkozy wants to appeal again

The former president kept a straight face as the verdict was read and left the courtroom without commenting. According to his lawyer, Sarkozy intends to appeal the ruling.

At the end of his first term, Sarkozy wanted to run an American-style election campaign, “with a big appearance once a day.” According to the judges, the events company Bygmalion, which gave the case its name, concealed the costs by charging a significant portion of them not to the candidate, but to his party UMP (today: the Republicans) for fictitious events.

However, the conservative former president was not accused in the proceedings of the fake invoice system, but only of exceeding the upper limit on campaign spending. Nine other accused party members were sentenced to prison terms of up to two years, some of which were suspended.

Hollande prevailed – despite Sarkozy's massive campaign spending

Despite investing 43 million euros in the election campaign, the current president lost the elections to his socialist rival, François Hollande.

Sarkozy keeps the French judiciary busy with many matters. In May 2023, the Court of Appeal sentenced him to three years in prison, including two years suspended, on charges of bribing a judge. Sarkozy also appealed this ruling. Another trial is expected.

Financing his successful first presidential campaign in 2007 also led to several legal actions. Sarkozy is scheduled to stand trial next year on suspicion of obtaining 50 million euros from former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to finance his election campaign. Sarkozy rejects this.

Sarkozy is the first former French president to be sentenced to prison for crimes he committed after the end of his term. During their term in office, French presidents are protected from prosecution by virtue of their official immunity. (AFP/LATE)

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