| 22 May 2024, Wednesday |

France’s Sarkozy has been sentenced to a year in prison for unlawful campaign financing

After being found guilty of unlawful campaign finance during his unsuccessful 2012 re-election effort, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was sentenced to one year in prison by a Paris court on Thursday.

Sarkozy, who is 66 years old, is unlikely to be imprisoned. He is anticipated to file an appeal, thus suspending the sentence, and the judge decided he might serve it at home with an electronic tag.

It was Sarkozy’s second guilty verdict this year. He was France’s president from 2007 to 2012 and still wields power among conservatives despite his legal issues.

Prosecutors claim that his conservative party spent nearly double the legal limit of 22.5 million euros ($19.2 million) on lavish campaign rallies, then hired a sympathetic public relations firm to cover the expense.

Sarkozy has categorically denied any wrongdoing. In June, he told the court that he was not involved in the mechanics of his re-election campaign or how money was spent in the run-up to the election.

However, the court found that Sarkozy was aware of the excess, that he did nothing about it, and that he did not need to approve each individual expenditure to be culpable.

Sarkozy was found guilty in a separate trial in March of trying to bribe a judge and peddle influence in order to obtain confidential information on a judicial inquiry. He also denied any wrongdoing in that case.

The former president was sentenced to three years in jail in that trial – two of which were suspended – but has not actually spent time in prison yet, while his appeal is pending.

  • Reuters