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French court confirms Sarkozy's conviction and reduces sentence - DW - 02/14/2024

French court confirms Sarkozy's conviction and reduces sentence – DW – 02/14/2024

On Wednesday, the French Court of Appeal reduced the prison sentence of former President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was convicted of financing an illegal election campaign while running for re-election in 2012.

In 2021, a lower court had Sarkozy was sentenced to one year in prison In the case, the execution of the ruling was suspended until it is appealed.

Now, the Paris Court of Appeal has said the former president must serve just six months in prison, with a further six months suspended. The punishment can be carried out by alternative means, such as wearing an electronic bracelet, without going to prison.

Sarkozy's lawyer, Vincent Desry, immediately said that the former president would appeal the appeal ruling before France's highest court. He added, “Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy is completely innocent. He took note of this decision and decided to appeal to the Court of Cassation.”

What is the case against Sarkozy?

Sarkozy won the 2007 election with 53.1% of the vote, but lost the 2012 election to Socialist candidate Fran├žois Hollande.

in FranceCandidates are only allowed to spend 22.5 million euros ($24.1 million) on the presidential election campaign. Prosecutors said Sarkozy spent nearly 43 million euros on the 2012 campaign, and the surplus was then hidden through a series of fictitious invoices issued by his then party, the Union for a Popular Movement.

Noucillas Sarkozy has always denied reports that his party worked with a public relations firm called Pygmalion to hide the true cost of his 2012 presidential campaign.Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

But Sarkozy has always denied reports that his Republican party, then known as the Union for a Popular Movement, worked with a public relations company called Pygmalion to hide the true cost of his campaign.

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During the hearing, Sarkozy blamed some members of his campaign team, telling the court: “I did not choose any supplier.” “I did not sign any quote, or any invoice.”

Sarkozy's legal problems

Since his only term in power between 2007 and 2012, Sarkozy has faced a series of legal problems. He has been accused of corruption, bribery, influence peddling and campaign finance violations in a series of cases.

The former president was appointed To face trial in 2025 On charges of receiving money from the deceased Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi to finance his election campaign in 2007.

But despite his legal troubles, Sarkozy enjoys a great deal of influence and popularity on the right of French politics. He also maintained a relationship with President Emmanuel Macron. French media reported that the two had dinner together on several occasions to discuss politics.

AED/WD (AFP, Reuters)