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What happened with Nicolas Sarkozy?

Nicolas Sarkozy, former president of France between 2007 – 2012.

The former French president will serve his sentence at home and wear an electronic bracelet. The former president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, was sentenced on Wednesday to three years in prison after being found guilty of corruption and influence peddling. It is the first time that a head of state in France has been criminally responsible for his actions. The judges in Paris upheld the three-year sentence to which former President Sarkozy was sentenced in the first instance in the wiretapping case. He was found guilty of trying to obtain illegally, in 2014, information from a magistrate about an investigation that targeted him. Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy lost his appeal against a 2021 conviction for corruption and influence peddling at the Paris Court of Appeal on Wednesday. The court upheld his sentence of one year in prison with two suspended and determined that he serve the sentence under house arrest, being forced to wear an electronic bracelet, AFP and France 24 write. Sarkozy says he will appeal the verdict to the Supreme Court of France.

The former president, now 68, who led France from 2007 to 2012, has faced multiple criminal charges since leaving office. In the present case, the court found that Sarkozy and his former lawyer, Thierry Herzog, entered into a “corruption pact” with a judge, Gilbert Azibert, to obtain information about a legal investigation targeting the former Palace chief Elysee. Investigators tapped Sarkozy’s two official phone lines. They discovered that he had a third, unofficial number through which he communicated with Herzog. The content of those phone calls led to the corruption verdict handed down by the Paris Court of Appeal on Wednesday. The case in which Sarkozy was convicted on Wednesday is known to public opinion as “Bismuth” and is only one of those that targeted the former head of state. Another Sarkozy case will be reheard on appeal in November 2023. This case is known to the public as “Bygmalion”, and at first instance he was sentenced to a year in prison. Prosecutors accused Sarkozy’s team of spending nearly double the legal limit on the 2012 election campaign, using false invoices from a public relations firm called Bygmalion. He denied all the allegations. Just last Thursday, May 12, former French President Sarkozy was indicted in connection with Libyan financing of the 2007 election campaign. French prosecutors say Sarkozy and 12 other people should be tried for soliciting millions of euros in financing from the regime of then-Libyan leader Muammar Kadhafi for his 2007 victory campaign. Sarkozy is accused of corruption, illegal campaign financing, and embezzlement of public funds, but he has denied all charges. The magistrates, however, will have the final say on whether this process will continue or not. Despite his legal troubles, Sarkozy still enjoys considerable influence and popularity among French politicians.

By Cora Sulleyman

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