France’s former president, Nicolas Sarkozy, was on Monday sentenced by the Paris judicial court to a three-year jail term after being found guilty of corruption and influence peddling in a case dating back to 2014, according to French news channel BFMTV.
The three-year sentence includes just one year of imprisonment — two years have been suspended. He can serve the term at home. The sentence follows a 10-day trial that took place in late 2020. Sarkozy firmly denied all allegations.
The case dates back to 2014, two years after the end of his presidential run, and stems from the wiretapping of Sarkozy’s phone discussions with his lawyer, Thierry Herzog, and a magistrate, Gilbert Azibert, by French investigators from the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office.
Sarkozy was found guilty of having sealed a corruption pact with Azibert, through Herzog, to seize leaked information about the funds Sarkozy had received from the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi to finance his presidential campaign in 2007. Under the alleged pact, Azibert obtained a position in Monaco.
The sentence marks a precedent in the history of France’s Fifth Republic and “reflects the particular gravity of the wrongdoings committed by a former president,” said the president of the Paris Court, quoted by BFMTV. “He used his status and his political and diplomatic relationships to gratify a magistrate,” she added.
Sarkozy left the courtroom without making a comment. Herzog and Azibert received the same sentence, three years in jail including a one-year imprisonment. Herzog has also been banned from practising law for five years.