Former French President Sarkozy Jailed For Corruption

Tuesday, March 2, 2021 | Tag Cloud Tags: , , , , , ,

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

(Worthy News) – A Paris court has sentenced former French Nicolas Sarkozy to three years in prison, two of them suspended, for corruption and influence peddling.

The 66-year-old Sarkozy could request to serve that time at home, and he also planned to appeal the decision. Monday’s ruling came after the court found him guilty of offering to bribe a judge in 2014 – after he had left office. Sarkozy suggested he could secure a prestigious job for the magistrate in return for information about a separate case.

“Sarkozy used his status as former French president,” said Presiding Judge Christine Mée on Monday. She told the wrongdoing he committed was “particularly serious.”

Sarkozy was on trial with two co-defendants, his lawyer Thierry Herzog and Gilbert Azibert, a senior judge. Investigators were looking into claims that Sarkozy had accepted illicit payments from the L’Oreal cosmetics heiress Liliane Bettencourt for his 2007 presidential campaign. The prosecution convinced the court that Sarkozy and Herzog had sought to bribe Azibert with a prestigious job in Monaco in return for information about that investigation. On Monday, Herzog and Azibert were also sentenced to three years in jail, two of them suspended.

Sarkozy also faces other cases. He was due to go on trial next month over the so-called Bygmalion affair, in which he allegedly overspent in his unsuccessful 2012 campaign. And, Prosecutors are investigating claims that Sarkozy received funding for his 2007 campaign from Libya’s then-leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The conviction of Sarkozy — who still enjoys some popularity in the nation — is another setback to a political career that stuttered after his failed 2012 re-election bid. His legal wrangling was closely followed outside France in Hungary as Sarkozy’s father was a Protestant Hungarian aristocrat. Additionally, Hungary’s leaders have also come under international scrutiny over alleged corruption.

Sarkozy isn’t the first former French president to go on trial in modern times. But the late Jacques Chirac was too sick to attend court before he was found guilty in 2011 of misusing Paris city funds.

The corruption scandals underscored his image as the “bling-bling” president, the nickname given by opponents. Critics claimed his leadership style was too celebrity-driven and hyperactive for a role steeped in tradition and grandeur were given that nickname.

Commentators said that his celebrity image was enforced when he married supermodel and singer Carla Bruni in 2008. In 2012 he lost his re-election bid to Socialist François Hollande.

His wife defended her husband on Monday, calling the trial “senseless persecution”. She warned: The fight continues, and the truth will come out”.

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