Former President of France Nicolas Sarkozy (2007-2012) was tried and sentenced on Monday (March 1, 2021) to 3 years in prison, 1 year in a closed regime. He was accused of corruption by bribing a judge and of influence peddling.
The prosecution had requested a sentence of 4 years in prison, 2 of which in a closed regime, as the presidential image had been “Affected” by the case. As the request was not accepted and 2 years of the sentence were suspended, Zarkozy will not be arrested. The former French president will serve time in the home regime with the use of an electronic anklet.
The conservative politician, Zarkozy, became the 2nd head of state in modern France to be convicted of corruption. In 2011, Jacques Chirac was sentenced to 2 years in prison for embezzlement of public funds to illegally finance the party he was leading, but the sentence was suspended and Chirac was not arrested.
In ruling on the case, the Paris Court said there was a “Corruption pact” between the former president, his lawyer, Thierry Herzog, and former magistrate Gilbert Azibert, who were sentenced to the same sentence. There is still appeal in the case.
The case came after investigators tapped the phones of Sarkozy and his lawyer, Thierry Herzog, to examine suspicions that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who was killed in 2011, financed Sarkozy’s successful campaign for the Presidency in 2007 .
Sarkozy was found guilty of bribing a judge at France’s main appeals court by offering to help the magistrate get a prestigious job in Monaco. In return, he wanted information about a criminal case against him and his party, called “Case Bettancourt”.
The case involves L’Oréal’s billionaire heiress Liliane Bettencourt. Sarkozy would have taken advantage of her mental senility to obtain donations above the legal ceiling and to finance her election campaign in 2007. The alleged crime complaint was eventually dismissed in 2013.
The former president denies all charges. He said he considered helping the magistrate as a favor to his friend and lawyer, Thierry Herzog, but decided not to do so.