Former President Sarkozy’s Three-Year Sentence in Wiretapping Case Upheld by French Court

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Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s Conviction Upheld in Corruption Case

France’s former president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has lost his appeal against a 2021 conviction for corruption and influence peddling. The Paris Court of Appeals upheld the original sentence of three years, with two years suspended. As a result, Sarkozy will serve one year with an electronic bracelet instead of going to prison. Determined to challenge the verdict, the 68-year-old has stated his intention to appeal to France’s Supreme Court. Sarkozy has faced legal troubles since leaving office in 2012.

The Corruption Verdict: Wiretapping and Collusion

In March 2021, Sarkozy was found guilty of corruption and influence peddling through a covert telephone line that was discovered during wiretapping. The court concluded that Sarkozy and his former lawyer, Thierry Herzog, had engaged in a “corruption pact” with Judge Gilbert Azibert to obtain and exchange confidential information related to a legal investigation. The wiretapping revealed Sarkozy’s use of an unofficial phone line registered under the name “Paul Bismuth” for communication with Herzog. The contents of these conversations were instrumental in the corruption verdict. Sarkozy vehemently denied the allegations and promptly appealed the conviction.

New Trials and Legal Challenges

The “Bismuth case” is just one of the legal battles Sarkozy faces. In November 2023, he will be retried on appeal in the “Bygmalion case,” which initially resulted in a one-year prison sentence. This case centers around accusations of exceeding campaign spending limits during his 2012 re-election campaign, allegedly involving false billing from a public relations firm named Bygmalion. Sarkozy denies any wrongdoing. Additionally, French prosecutors have called for a new trial concerning allegations of Libyan financing in Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign. Prosecutors argue that Sarkozy and 12 others sought millions of euros in funding from then Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi’s regime. Sarkozy faces charges of corruption, illegal campaign financing, and misappropriation of public funds, all of which he has consistently denied. The decision on whether this trial will proceed lies with the investigating magistrates.

Sarkozy’s Influence and Popularity

Despite his legal challenges, Sarkozy remains influential and popular within France’s right-wing political landscape. He maintains a close relationship with incumbent President Emmanuel Macron and continues to wield considerable political clout.

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