French court to announce verdict on Sarkozy appeal

AFP - [email protected]
French court to announce verdict on Sarkozy appeal
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

A Paris court is expected to issue its verdict in a case involving former French president Nicolas Sarkozy who is appealing against a one-year jail sentence for illegal campaign financing.


Sarkozy has faced a litany of legal problems since his sole term in office between 2007 and 2012 and has been charged separately with corruption, bribery, influence-peddling and campaign finance infringements.

In the so-called "Bygmalion affair", Sarkozy, 69, was sentenced to one year in prison in 2021 on charges that his right-wing party, then known as the UMP, worked with a public relations firm to hide the true cost of his 2012 re-election bid.

He became France's first post-World War II president to be sentenced to prison.

Sarkozy appealed against the sentence, which the court at the time said should take the shape of electronically controlled house arrest rather than prison.

The appeal trial began in November last year.

Thirteen other people were also sentenced to terms of up to three and a half years in prison, partially suspended. Sarkozy was one of 10 defendants who appealed.

Prosecutors have said Sarkozy should be given a suspended one-year jail sentence, a more lenient term than his original conviction. Sarkozy had yet to serve any jail time as his case wound its way through appeals.

The former French president has "vigorously" denied any wrongdoing, accusing the firm, Bygmalion, of having enriched itself behind his back.

Sarkozy has said he could never have imagined that "there was a system of false invoices."

The Paris Court of Appeal is due to announce its decision Wednesday afternoon.

Prosecutors have said Sarkozy spent nearly €43million on his 2012 campaign, almost double the permitted €22.5million.

France sets strict limits on campaign spending.


The 13 other people - including members of the UMP party, accountants and Bygmalion executives - were found guilty of various charges, ranging from forgery and fraud to complicity in illegal campaign financing.

In 2025, Sarkozy will be tried over allegations he took money from late Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi to illegally fund his victorious 2007 bid for the presidency.

Despite his legal woes, the man who styled himself as the "hyper-president" while in office still enjoys considerable influence and popularity on the right of French politics.

Sarkozy has also maintained a relationship with President Emmanuel Macron and French media have said the pair have dined together on numerous occasions to talk politics.

Sarkozy has also written books that have become major publishing events.

In his latest work, he said he would like his protege and current Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin to succeed Macron as French president, noting his "evident qualities", although the minister has indicated he may not run.


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