Conviction of French ex-president Sarkozy over illegal campaign funding upheld

14 February 2024, 17:24

France Sarkozy Verdict
France Sarkozy Verdict. Picture: PA

Nicolas Sarkozy was convicted in a lower court in September 2021 and sentenced to a year of house arrest for illegal campaign financing.

An appeals court in Paris on Wednesday upheld a guilty verdict against former French president Nicolas Sarkozy for illegal campaign financing in his failed 2012 re-election bid.

Sarkozy was convicted in a lower court in September 2021 and sentenced to a year of house arrest for illegal campaign financing.

The court said Sarkozy would be allowed to serve the one-year sentence at home by wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet.

The Paris Court of Appeal on Wednesday sentenced Sarkozy to a year in prison, of which six months were suspended.

The former president’s lawyer said he will appeal to the Court of Cassation, France’s highest court.

With the appeal pending, Sarkozy cannot be imprisoned, in line with French law.

“Nicolas Sarkozy is completely innocent of charges against him,” said Vincent Desry, the former president’s lawyer after the ruling.

Sarkozy was France’s president from 2007 to 2012. He has vigorously denied wrongdoing.

He was accused of having spent almost twice the maximum legal amount of 22.5 million euros (£19.2 million) on the re-election bid that he lost to Socialist Francois Hollande.

The court said Sarkozy “knew” the legal limit was at stake and “voluntarily” failed to supervise additional expenses.

In a separate case in 2021, Sarkozy, 69, was found guilty of corruption and influence peddling.

An appeal court last year confirmed the guilty verdict, sentencing him to a year in prison, and two years suspended, in that case. Sarkozy had appealed to the Court of Cassation, which suspended that sentence.

It was the first time in France’s modern history that a former president has been convicted and sentenced to a prison term for actions during his term.

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

Sarkozy retired from active politics in 2017.

By Press Association

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