Sunday, December 10, 2023

French Ex-President sentenced to jail for corruption charges

French Ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy has sentenced to three years in prison for corruption. Also two of them have suspended.

He was convicting in 2014 for trying to bribe a judge. After he resigned to offer him a respectable job in exchange of information about a separate case.

Sarkozy, 66, is the first French Ex-President sentenced to jail.

But his lawyer said he would appeal. Sarkozy remains free during this process, which can take years.

In his verdict, Judge Christine told Mée that Conservative politicians “knew what he was doing wrong,” adding that his actions and those of his lawyers gave the public a “very bad image of justice”.

Moreover crime is defined as the spread of influence and a breach of professional confidentiality.

This was a legal milestone for post-war France. The only precedent is the trial of Sarkozy’s predecessor, Jacques Chirac, who received a two-year suspended sentence in 2011 for arranging fake jobs for allies as Mayor of Paris at Paris City Hall. Chirac died in 2019.

If Sarkozy’s appeal fails, he could spend a year at home with an electronic label instead of going to jail.

However his wife, supermodel and singer Carla Bruni, described the case as “pointless persecution”, adding that “the fight continues and the truth will come out”.

Who is French Ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy?

Nicolas Sarkozy has served as President for five years since 2007. During his presidency being overshadowed by the global financial crisis, he adopted a strict immigration policy and tried to reform the French economy.

While critics called it “bling-bling” and found his leadership style too presumptuous, prominent and hyperactive for a role steeped in tradition and grandeur.

His celebrity image boosted by his marriage to Bruni in 2008. But in 2012 he lost his re-election to socialist François Hollande.

Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni — Photo Courtesy:

Since then, he’s been the subject of several criminal investigations.

In 2017 he tried to return politically, but failed because his center-right party Les Républicains chose another presidential candidate instead.

What are the corruption cases against him?

Sarkozy was trailed with two defendants, his lawyer Thierry Herzog and Gilbert Azibert, a senior judge.

This case focuses on a telephone conversation between Sarkozy and Herzog, which was recorded by the police in 2014.

Investigators are investigating allegations that Sarkozy received illegal payments from L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt for his 2007 presidential campaign.

Furthermore, the indictment convinced the court that Sarkozy and Herzog tried to bribe Azibert with a prestigious job in Monaco for information about the investigation.

French media reported that Sarkozy said to Duke: “I will promote him, I will help him.”

Evidently the tapped phone line was a secret number created under the fictional name Paul Bismuth and which Sarkozy used to communicate with his lawyers.

On Monday, Herzog and Azibert were also sentenced to three years in prison, two of which suspended.

What are other charges Sarkozy faces?

He will go in trial next month over the so-called Bigmalion Affair, in which he is accused of spending too much money in his unsuccessful 2012 campaign.

Prosecutors are also investigating allegations that Sarkozy received funding for his campaign from Libyan head of state Muammar Gaddafi in 2007.

Sarkozy has also resolved in connection with the Bettencourt case. He said that any investigation against him was politically motivated.

Despite his legal troubles, he remains popular with the right a year after the next presidential election.

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