Paris: a court found former French President Nicolas Sarkozy guilty of corruption and the influence of peddling and sentenced him to three years in prison for two years

The 66-year-old politician, who served as president from 2007 to 2012, was convicted of trying in 2014 to illegally obtain information from a high-ranking judge about a legal lawsuit he was involved in

The court said Sarkozy was entitled to apply for detention at home using an electronic wristband

This is the first time in modern French history that a former president has been convicted of corruption

Sarkozy’s co-defendants – his lawyer and longtime friend Thierry Herzog (65) and the now retired judge Gilbert Azibert (74) – were also found guilty and sentenced to the same sentence as the politician

The court found that Sarkozy and his co-defendants sealed a “corruption pact” based on “consistent and serious evidence”

The court said the facts were “particularly serious” as they were committed by a former president who was using his status to assist a judge who had served his personal interest. In addition, he was “perfect as a trained attorney.” informed “about the commission of an illegal act, said the court

Sarkozy had firmly denied all allegations against him during the 10-day trial that took place late last year

At that time, investigating judges had opened an investigation into the financing of the 2007 presidential campaign. During the investigation, they discovered that Sarkozy and Herzog were communicating via secret cell phones registered under the pseudonym “Paul Bismuth”

Conversations overheard on these phones led prosecutors to suspect Sarkozy and Herzog of promising Azibert a job in Monaco in order to obtain information about another legal battle that was going on under the name of the richest woman in France, the heiress of L’Oreal, Liliane Bettencourt, is known

On one of those phone calls with Herzog, Sarkozy said of Azibert, “I’ll get him to rise, I’ll help him”

In another case, Duke reminded Sarkozy to say a word for Azibert while on a trip to Monaco

Legal proceedings against Sarkozy in the Bettencourt case have been dropped. Azibert never got the job in Monaco

However, the public prosecutor’s office has come to the conclusion that the “clearly stated promise” in itself constitutes a corruption offense under French law, even if the promise has not been kept

He told the court that his political life was all about “giving (people) a little help. That’s all, a little help,” he said during the trial

The confidentiality of communication between a lawyer and his client was a major issue in the process

“You are looking at a man who has over 3700 private conversations overheard. What did I do to deserve this? “Sarkozy said during the process

Jacqueline Laffont, Sarkozy’s attorney, argued that the entire case was based on “small talk” between a lawyer and his client

The court concluded that wiretapped conversations can be used as legal as long as they help provide evidence of corruption crimes

Sarkozy retired from active politics after he was not selected as his Conservative Party’s presidential candidate for the 2017 French elections, which Emmanuel Macron won

However, he remains very popular with right-wing voters and plays an important role behind the scenes, including maintaining a relationship with Macron, whom he is tasked with advising on issues that were his memoir, published last year, BestThe Time of Storms A bestseller for weeks

Sarkozy will be tried again later this month along with 13 other people for illegally funding his 2012 presidential campaign
His Conservative party is suspected of spending € 42 million ($ 66 million), almost double the maximum approved, to fund the campaign that ended in a victory for socialist rival Francois Hollande

In another investigation launched in 2013, Sarkozy is accused of stealing millions from then-Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi to illegally fund his 2007 campaign

He has been handed preliminary charges of passive corruption, illegal campaign funding, concealment of stolen assets from Libya and criminal organization. He has denied wrongdoing

A message direct from our foreign correspondents about what’s making headlines around the world. Sign up for our weekly newsletter here

Nicolas Sarkozy

World News – AU – Former French President Sarkozy has been convicted of corruption and sentenced to prison

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/former-french-president-sarkozy-convicted-of-corruption-sentenced-to-prison-20210302-p576wo.html