March 3, 2021


On Monday, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was sentenced by a Paris court. He was charged with corruption as well as influence peddling, and the court found him guilty. The court ordered Sarkozy to three years in prison.

The Sarkozy conviction was significant as it’s only the second time that a French president has been convicted of a crime in the country’s modern history.

Background on Nicolas Sarkozy

The former president was charged for his illegal activities between 2007 and 2012 when he served as the president of France. He was found guilty of illegally acquiring information from a senior magistrate in 2014 that discussed his illegal financial activities during his time leading the country.

Influence peddling, which was one of the charges, is defined as using one’s influence to obtain preferential treatment from others. In Sarkozy’s case, it was by receiving confidential documents illegally that he should not have been able to access.

The Case

The Paris judge stated that Sarkozy would not have to serve his sentence in jail. He will be able to stay at home while wearing a tracking bracelet to assure that he is following legal guidelines. Sarkozy is still expected to appeal the case to a higher court.

The prosecutor wanted to see Sarkozy jailed for two years, followed by a two-year probationary period. The prosecutor also tried to have Sarkozy’s accomplices like his lawyer, Thierry Herzog, and his former magistrate, Gilbert Azibert, sentenced to the same penalty.

Herzog and Azibert did not receive the same penalty, but they were ordered to serve jail time. The trial came to a close on Monday, but it was an extensive process. The investigation began in 2013, and the trial started at the end of 2020.

There were questions of Sarkozy’s honesty which caused investigators to tap his phone line. It was discovered that Sarkozy was conducting illegal activity by trying to get senior magistrate Gilbert Azibert to hand over the financial documents.

They promised Gilbert Azibert a prestigious position in the Monaco government. This was the reason Sarkozy was convicted on Monday afternoon in Paris.

Future Trials

Nicolas Sarkozy will be back in the courtroom in a couple of weeks to face two other accusations. He was also charged with violating campaign financing rules in 2012 during his reelection campaign. He allegedly hid the actual cost of his campaign by outsourcing activities through a marketing firm.

Sarkozy’s other charge involves illegal campaign funding that he received from Libya. It’s believed that former Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi sent Sarkozy suitcases of euros in 2007 to help him get elected.

Sarkozy’s lack of financial honesty has been the framework of all three charges. If he is found guilty in the upcoming court cases, his punishment will be more extreme.

Nicolas Sarkozy will indefinitely appeal every upcoming decision, but it’s not believed that his appeal will make a difference. In 2011, former French president Jacques Chirac was dealt a two-year suspended prison sentence for public funding misuse.

Chirac and now Sarkozy are the only two French leaders in the country’s modern history that have been criminally charged.

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