Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy sentenced to one-year jail term
The Paris court will allow Sarkozy to serve the one-year sentence at home by wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet.
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been found guilty of illegally financing his 2012 re-election bid and was sentenced to one-year jail term by a French court on September 30, 2021.
The court will allow Sarkozy to serve the one-year sentence at home by wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet. He was not present when the Paris court gave out its ruling.
Nicolas Sarkozy had served as the President of France from 2007 to 2012. He was defeated by Socialist Party's François Hollande by a margin of 3.2 percent of votes in the 2012 elections.
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy given one-year jail term for illegal campaign finance: AFP news agency— ANI (@ANI) September 30, 2021
What are the charges?
Nicolas Sarkozy has been accused of spending almost twice the maximum legal amount of 22.5 million euros ($27.5 million) during his re-election bid.
The court ruled that Sarkozy knew the legal limit and voluntarily failed to supervise additional expenses. The prosecutors argued that Sarkozy was the only person responsible for his campaign financing and that he chose to exceed the limit by organizing many rallies, including giant ones.
The prosecutors had requested a six-month prison term and six-month suspended sentence and a fine of 3,750 euros ($4,354).
During the trial earlier in May and June 2020, the former President had vigorously denied any wrongdoing in the case. He had told the court during his hearing that the extra money didn’t go into his campaign but instead helped make other people richer.
He denied any “fraudulent intent" and insisted that he didn’t handle the day-to-day organization as he had a team for the same and therefore couldn’t be blamed for the amount of spending. He now has the option of appealing against the latest court ruling, which would suspend the sentence.
13 other people are also on trial along with the former President including members of his conservative Republican party and they face charges including breach of trust, fraud, forgery and complicity in illegal campaign financing.
The ruling comes after 66-year-old Sarkozy was found guilty on March 1 of corruption and influence peddling in another case. He was given a year of prison term in that case with two years suspended but is free pending appeal.
Nicolas Sarkozy had retired from active politics in 2017 after being defeated at the Republican presidential primary in 2016. He had initially taken a break from politics after his loss in 2012 but came back in 2014 to be re-elected as the leader of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party, which was renamed as the Republicans in 2015.