Nicolas Sarkozy in jail: What were the former French president’s crimes?
On Monday, a court in France officially sentenced Nicolas Sarkozy, the former president of France, to three years of prison for corruption & influence peddling, but then suspended two years of his sentencing. So what exactly did Nicolas Sarkozy do to end up with this sentence? Read on to learn all about the details currently making headlines all over the French press.
So what did Nicolas Sarkozy do that led him to an initial sentencing of three years in prison? It turns out that the former President from 2007 to 2012 was found guilty for an incident in 2014 when he attempted to illegally obtain information from a senior magistrate about an ongoing investigation in the finances for his campaign.
This makes Sarkozy the first president to have ever been sentenced to prison in all of France’s modern history. The judge confirmed that Nicolas Sarkozy did not need to serve physical time in prison, and that he was able to serve his sentence at home through wearing an electronic bracelet.
CNN reported that “The Paris prosecutor had requested a two-year prison sentence and a two-year suspended sentence for Sarkozy and his co-defendants, his lawyer Thierry Herzog and former magistrate Gilbert Azibert”, and that both Herzog & Azibert were found guilty and given prison sentences as well.
Catherine Norris-Trent, the Senior Reporter for France24, also added in a tweet that “Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is handed a jail term after being found guilty of corruption in a historic ruling BUT he won’t be heading to jail (not yet at least), because ( . . . ) he’s expected to appeal and under French legal system remains free while doing so”.
All about the lengthy investigation
The trial for the sixty-six-year-old former President first began at the end of last year after a series of ongoing investigations & legal entanglements. On Monday afternoon, the judge officially handed down Sarkozy’s three-year sentence in front of a packed courtroom.
The investigation for Nicolas Sarkozy first began back in 2013 when the investigation prompted officials to bug the phones that belonged to both Sarkozy and his lawyer Thierry Herzog, which was based on an inquiry against Sarkozy. The investigation has been regarded as the “wiretapping case”.
CNN reported that through the wiretapping, “they discovered that the two men promised senior magistrate Gilbert Azibert a prestigious position in Monaco, in exchange for information about an ongoing inquiry into claims that Sarkozy had accepted illegal payments from L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt for his successful 2007 presidential campaign”.
While Nicolas Sarkozy has already been sentenced from the trial based around the “wiretapping case”, unfortunately for him, he still faces many other accusations that may extend his sentence. In around two weeks, Sarkozy will have to return to court for his trial of being accused of breaking campaign financing rules during his failed 2012 re-election bid.
He is currently being accused of hiding the real amount he spent on his campaign by secretly teaming with a friendly public relations firm. CNN also reported that in another case, “French prosecutors are looking into alleged illegal campaign funding from Libya”. Sarkozy has been accused of receiving funds worth up to millions of euros shipped to Paris in the form of suitcases from Libya’s former deceased leader Muammar Gaddafi.
When looking back on France’s history, CNN noted that former President Jacques Chirac “received a two-year suspended prison sentence for the employment of fictitious officials when he was mayor of Paris in the early 1990s” and was guilty due to misuse of public funds. However, the last French President to be officially sentenced to jail was Marshal Philippe Pétain in 1945 for collaborating with the Nazis.