Sarkozy: Ex-French president gets jail sentence over campaign funding

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Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy (C) seen here in Madrid, Spain, 29 September 2021Image source, EPA
Image caption,
In March, Nicolas Sarkozy became the first former president of France to receive a custodial sentence

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been sentenced to a year in prison for illegally funding his unsuccessful 2012 re-election campaign.

The 66-year-old was found guilty in a Paris court of spending tens of millions of euros more on his campaign than was permitted under the law.

He will not be jailed, however, and can serve his sentence at home with an electronic bracelet, the court ruled.

Mr Sarkozy, who denies any wrongdoing, described the ruling as an "injustice".

He said he would go "right to the end" to seek "truth and justice". His lawyer added that he would appeal the verdict.

This is Mr Sarkozy's second one-year prison term. In March, he became the first former president of France to receive a custodial sentence - for corruption and influence peddling - but remains free pending an appeal of that sentence.

In the latest trial, Mr Sarkozy was accused with 13 other defendants over their role in the so-called "Bygmalion" scandal.

Prosecutors said the former president's UMP party splurged nearly double the €22.5m (£19.4m) cap on lavish campaign rallies and events, then tried to hide the costs by hiring a PR firm called Bygmalion to invoice the party, not the campaign.

On Thursday, the court in Paris ruled that though the former president may not have known the full details of the fraud, he must have seen that limits were breached and did nothing about it.

It is the latest legal challenge for Mr Sarkozy, who served a five-year term as president from 2007.

In 2012, he lost his re-election bid to socialist François Hollande. Since then he has been targeted by several criminal investigations.

Earlier this year he was given a suspended prison sentence for trying to bribe a judge in 2014.

Media caption,

In an interview in March, Nicolas Sarkozy says his three-year sentence for corruption is an “injustice”

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