Nicolas Sarkozy Charged
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was sentenced to prison after being convicted of corruption. The 66-year-old politician, who was president from 2007 to 2012, was convicted of corruption and influence trafficking in a Paris court and was sentenced to three years in prison, which was suspended for two years. Sarkozy was accused of offering a judge to help him find a senior job in Monaco in exchange for inside information about the investigation into campaign funding. Taking into account the two years delayed, a one-year prison sentence means Sarkozy is unlikely to be physically incarcerated, a sentence in France that is usually used for sentences of more than two years.
The court said that Sarkozy would have the right to demand detention with an electronic bracelet at home. Despite currently retiring from politics, the former president is still influential among conservatives and is said to be planning a timely return for the 2022 elections. The court heard that his status as the country’s former leader meant that the crime was “particularly serious” as he used it to help a judge in exchange for information. In addition, as a former lawyer, he was “perfectly informed” about committing an illegal act. Sarkozy’s ex-model wife, Carla Bruni, shared the photo of the couple on Instagram with the label “injustice” after the decision was announced.
Sarkozy’s two defendants – lawyer Thierry Herzog and judge Gilbert Azibert – were also found guilty and sentenced to the same sentence. They have 10 days to appeal the decision and are currently free. The political will face another lawsuit, along with 13 others, this month over the illegal financing of the failed 2012 presidential campaign. He denied any crime, saying he was the victim of a witch hunt that used extreme methods to meddle in the affairs of financial prosecutors. Sarkozy is the second former president in modern France, after the late Jacques Chirac, to be convicted of corruption.
The corruption case focused on phone calls that took place in February 2014. At that time, investigating judges launched an investigation into the financing of the 2007 presidential campaign. During the investigation, they accidentally discovered that Sarkozy and Herzog were communicating via secret cell phones registered under the pseudonym ‘Paul Bismuth.’ The conversations over these phones led prosecutors to suspect Sarkozy and Herzog had promised Azibert a job in Monaco. Another case known by the name of Liliane Bettencourt, the heir to the richest woman in France, L’Oreal. In one of these phone calls with Herzog, Sarkozy said about Azibert: “I will get him up … I will help him.”
In another, Herzog reminded Sarkozy to “say a word” for Azibert during his trip to Monaco. Legal proceedings against Sarkozy were suspended in the Bettencourt case. Azibert never got the Monaco job. However, prosecutors concluded that even if the promise was not fulfilled, the “word clearly expressed” constituted a crime of corruption in itself under French law.
Nicolas Sarkozy Wiki
A retired French politician who served as President of France and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra from May 16, 2007 to May 15, 2012.
He was born in Paris, half Hungarian Protestant, one quarter Greek Jew and one quarter French Catholic. From 1983 to 2002, he was Mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine and Minister of Budget for François Mitterrand’s second term under Prime Minister Édouard Balladur (1993–1995). During Jacques Chirac’s second term, he served as Minister of the Interior and Minister of Finance. From 2004 to 2007, he was the leader of the Popular Movement Union (UMP) party.
He won the 2007 French presidential election with a margin of 53.1% to 46.9% against the Socialist Ségolène Royal. During his tenure, the 2007-2008 financial crisis (caused recession, caused the European debt crisis), the Russian-Georgian War (negotiated a ceasefire for this) and the Arab Spring (especially Tunisia, Libya and Syria). French universities started the reform (2007) and the pension reform (2010). She married Italian-French singer-songwriter Carla Bruni in 2008 at the Élysée Palace in Paris.
In the 2012 elections, Socialist Party candidate François Hollande defeated Sarkozy with a margin of 3.2%. After leaving the presidential office, Sarkozy promised to retire from public life before returning in 2014, and was later re-elected as UMP leader (renamed Republicans in 2015). He retired from public life after losing in the Republican presidential primary in 2016. He was accused by French prosecutors of corruption in two cases, notably about alleged involvement in Libya in the 2007 French elections. In 2021, Sarkozy and two defendants were tried, convicted and sentenced to prison; objected to the decision.