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Sarkozy sentenced to 1 year in jail for illegal campaign spending


clock 2 min read

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrives at the courtroom on March 1, 2021 in Paris.
AP/Michel Euler 2021 ©Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrives at the courtroom on March 1, 2021 in Paris.

Conviction comes seven months after another guilty verdict for corruption in 'wiretapping' affair

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was sentenced Thursday by the Paris Criminal Court to the maximum sentence of one year in prison for illegal financing of his campaign for the 2012 presidential election, in the so-called "Bygmalion" case.

The sentence will be directly adjusted, said the court. This new conviction comes seven months after that pronounced against him for corruption in the so-called "wiretapping" affair. He then became the first former president of the Fifth French Republic to be sentenced to prison.

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Sarkozy, 66, absent from the hearing, "continued to organize meetings," after having been "warned in writing of the risk of exceeding" the legal ceiling, said the president of the court Caroline Viguier, when reading the judgment against the former president.

Thirteen other people appeared alongside the former president, all also found guilty of complicity in illegal campaign financing.

"It was not his first campaign, he had experience as a candidate," continued the magistrate.

In the end, the cost of the campaign was, according to the prosecution, at least 42.8 million euros ($49.7 million), nearly double the legal ceiling at the time. 

Sarkozy in 2012 was running as an incumbent for a second consecutive and final term in office under the Constitution of the Fifth Republic. He was a candidate with the center-right Union for a Popular Movement.

He lost out to the Socialist Party candidate, François Hollande, who won the second and deciding round under France's two-stage presidential election system, by a margin of 51.64 percent to Sarkozy's 48.36 percent.