France's ex-president, Nicolas Sarkozy, found guilty of corruption

France's ex-president, Nicolas Sarkozy, found guilty of corruption
France's ex-president, Nicolas Sarkozy, found guilty of corruption

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - PARIS — France's former President Nicolas Sarkozy was on Monday found guilty of corruption and influence-peddling and sentenced to a three-year jail term.

Sarkozy, 66, is however allowed to request that his prison term — of which two years are suspended — be served at home with an electronic bracelet.

He is the first former French leader to be handed out a prison sentence that includes time with no remission. His predecessor at the Elysée Palace, Jacques Chirac, had been handed a two-year suspended jail term after being found guilty of corruption while Paris Mayor.

Sarkozy was accused of offering to boost a high magistrate's chance of obtaining a promotion in Monaco back in 2014 in return for leaked information about a judicial inquiry against him.

France's former president Nicolas Sarkozy was on Monday found guilty of corruption and influence-peddling and sentenced to a three-year jail term.

Sarkozy, 66, is however allowed to request that his prison term — of which two years are suspended — be served at home with an electronic bracelet.

He is the first former French leader to be handed out a prison sentence that includes time with no remission. His predecessor at the Elysée Palace, Jacques Chirac, had been handed a two-year suspended jail term after being found guilty of corruption while Paris Mayor.

Sarkozy was accused of offering to boost a high magistrate's chance of obtaining a promotion in Monaco back in 2014 in return for leaked information about a judicial inquiry against him.

Sarkozy, who was president from 2007 to 2012, firmly denied all the allegations against him during the 10-day trial that took place last year.

Sarkozy's lawyer, Thierry Herzog, and the senior judge, Gilbert Azibert, also denied wrongdoing. Both have been handed the same sentence as Sarkozy with the former also slapped with a five-year professional ban.

Prosecutors had requested two years of prison and a two-year suspended sentence for all three defendants over what they said was a "corruption pact.''

"No pact has ever existed," Sarkozy told the court. "Neither in my head nor in reality.'' "I want to be cleared of that infamy,'' he added.

The case dates back to 2014 after investigators from the newly-created Parquet National Financier (National Financial Prosecutor's Office) tapped Sarkozy and Herzog's phones over allegations the former president had illegally received millions of euros from the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi to fund his successful 2007 presidential campaign.

At the time, Sarkozy, who had been ousted from office by François Hollande two years prior, was also being investigated for allegedly taking illegal payments from billionaire Liliane Bettencourt, the heiress to the L'Oréal empire, to fund his presidential aspirations.

Phone conversations recorded between Sarkozy and Herzog made investigators suspect the former French leader had offered to use his contacts to get the judge Azibert a coveted position in Monaco, in exchange for information about the investigation into the Bettencourt case. — Euronews


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