Countdown: A brief history of French leaders with court convictions

AFP - [email protected]
Countdown: A brief history of French leaders with court convictions
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy. (Photo by IAN LANGSDON / POOL / AFP)

Nicolas Sarkozy, who on Wednesday lost his appeal against his corruption conviction, is one of five former French presidents and prime ministers to have been convicted by French courts.


Nicolas Sarkozy
Former president Sarkozy, 68, has been the target of a long list of probes since he left office in 2012 and lost his presidential immunity.

In March 2021 he was convicted of trying to bribe a judge with a plum retirement job in exchange for inside information on an enquiry into hism campaign finances. He was sentenced to three years in prison, two of which were suspended - a sentence upheld by an appeals court on Wednesday.

READ ALSO French court upholds three-year sentence for ex-president Sarkozy

Sarkozy has announced plans to take the case to the highest court in France.

In September 2021, Sarkozy was also convicted of spending nearly double the legal limit on his failed 2012 re-election campaign. He has also appealed that conviction, which came with a one-year sentence that he can also serve at home with an electronic bracelet.

The combative former leader of the UMP - which became Les Républicains in 2015 - may also face a third trial that would be the most sensational yet, over alleged Libyan financing of his 2007 election campaign. He strenuously denies that late Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi helped get him elected.

François Fillon
In 2020, Sarkozy's former prime minister Fillon was sentenced to five years in prison, three of them suspended, for orchestrating a fake parliamentary assistant job for his wife.

The scandal tripped up frontrunner Fillon in the race for president in 2017.

His Welsh-born wife Penelope was given a suspended sentence for participating in the scheme.

An appeals court in May 2022 upheld Fillon's conviction but trimmed his sentence to four years in prison, three of them suspended. Both Fillons were fined €375,000 and ordered to repay the €800,000 that Penelope had received for her ghost job.

Fillon, too, has announced plans to appeal to France's highest court of appeal.


Jacques Chirac
Former conservative president Jacques Chirac (1995-2007) became the first president to be convicted for graft in 2011 when he was given a two-year suspended sentence for siphoning off public money to pay people working for his political party while he was Paris mayor. The ailing 79-year-old was too ill to attend his trial, nor did he appeal.

 Alain Juppe
Prime minister under Chirac from 1995 to 1997, Juppe was sentenced to a 14-month suspended jail term in 2004 in a separate scandal over fake jobs for members of his right-wing RPR party at Paris city hall between 1988 and 1995. He was also barred from public office for one year.


Edith Cresson
The European Court of Justice convicted Edith Cresson - France's prime minister from 1991 to 1992 - for favouritism in 2006 for granting a job to a friend while she was a European Commissioner in Brussels in the late 1990s.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also