The Paris Court of Appeals has upheld former French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s conviction for corruption and influence peddling. In 2021, he was sentenced to three years, two of them suspended.
The 68-year-old, who led France from 2007 to 2012, was embroiled in several legal scandals after leaving office. The case reviewed on Wednesday involved bribing a judge and peddling influence to gain access to privileged information regarding an investigation into Sarkozy’s election campaign finances.
French law enforcement wiretapped Sarkozy’s two official phone lines and discovered that he had a third secret one, which he used to communicate with his former lawyer, Thierry Herzog. Further investigation uncovered what prosecutors dubbed a “corruption pact.”
The judge, Gilbert Azibert, was offered a sinecure in Monaco in exchange for serving as Sarkozy’s insider in the probe into allegedly illegal donations from L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, according to the case. The prosecution asked for the same prison term for all three defendants.
During the appeal hearings, which started in December last year, Sarkozy denied any wrongdoing. The records of his conversations with Herzog were played in court for the first time.
The original conviction allowed Sarkozy to serve his term at home with an electronic bracelet monitoring his compliance.
Former French president Sarkozy sentenced to 1-year jail term over illegally financing 2012 election campaign
In a separate trial in 2021, Sarkozy was sentenced to a one-year term for violating election financing rules. Prosecutors accused him of spending nearly double of the amount allowed under French law on his failed 2012 re-election campaign and of hiring a friendly PR firm to cover up the wrongdoing.
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