Western Europe

Former French President Sarkozy guilty of illegal funding of his campaign

12:19, 30 September 2021
Former French President Sarkozy guilty of illegal funding of his campaign Photo: Sadak Souici/Global Look Press

The 66-year-old ex-President was sentenced to one year of jail.

The correctional court of Paris announced on Thursday a verdict to former President of France Nicolas Sarkozy. The ex-President was convicted of illegal funding of his 2012 presidential campaign in the so-called Bygmalion affair.

The court sentenced the former Head of State to a year of imprisonment, including six-month probation.

The President of the 11th correctional chamber Caroline Viguier has already presented terms to Sarkozy's 13 accomplices, also declared guilty.

According to the decision, Sarkozy, who has not shown up in the court, kept organizing financial inflow even after he had warned that he might exceed the legal limits. The judge was determined since it had not been Sarkozy's first campaign and he had been aware of his deeds.  

French prosecutors say that Sarkozy spent nearly double the €22.5 mln allowed to invest in a presidential campaign. They also state that the former President hired a friendly PR agency to conceal the real cost. 

Sarkozy has already appealed against the decision. He claims that he was not involved in the logistics of his campaign or in how money was spent during the election run-up.

"Can you imagine me going to a meeting to discuss flags' prices? I had too much to do."

The former Head of State is still on freedom since French laws permit him to wear an electronic ankle bracelet instead. The appeal procedure in effect suspends the term and Sarkozy will be able to stay at home with a tag on his leg. 

Last March he was already sentenced to three years of jail, two years of which were suspended, for influence peddling and corruption. In spring Sarkozy was found guilty of attempting to illegally get information about an ongoing investigation into his campaign finances.