Monday, 1 March 2021

FORMER FRENCH PRESIDENT CONVICTED OF CORRUPTION

French former president Nicolas Sarkozy has been convicted of corruption and influence peddling by a Paris court and sentenced to one year in prison.

The 66-year-old politician, who was president from 2007 to 2012, was convicted on Monday for having tried to illegally obtain information from a senior magistrate in 2014 about a legal action in which he was involved.

He was also handed a two-year suspended sentence. The court said Sarkozy will be entitled to request to be detained at home with an electronic bracelet.

The court said the facts were “particularly serious” given that they were committed by a former president who used his status to help a magistrate who had served his personal interest.

In addition, as a former lawyer, he was “perfectly informed” about committing an illegal action, the court said.

Sarkozy’s two co-defendants were also found guilty and given the same sentence as Sarkozy.

Sarkozy firmly denied all the allegations against him during the 10-day trial that took place at the end of last year. It was the first time in France’s modern history that a former president went on trial for corruption.

Sarkozy’s predecessor, Jacques Chirac, was found guilty in 2011 of misuse of public money and given a two-year suspended prison sentence for actions during his time as Paris mayor.

Sarkozy’s co-defendants - his lawyer and longtime friend Thierry Herzog, 65, and now-retired magistrate Gilbert Azibert, 74 - also denied wrongdoing.

Prosecutors requested two years of prison and a two-year suspended sentence for all three defendants over what they said was a “corruption pact.”

Sarkozy will face another trial later this month along with 13 other people on charges of illegal financing of his 2012 presidential campaign.

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