In a groundbreaking ruling from Paris, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is found guilty of corruption and influence-peddling and sentenced to one year in prison and a two-year suspended sentence.
The 66-year-old politician, who was president from 2007 to 2012, was convicted for having tried to illegally obtain information from a senior magistrate in 2014 about a legal action in which he was involved. The court said Sarkozy is entitled to request to be detained at home with an electronic bracelet.
This is the first time in France’s modern history that a former president has been convicted of corruption.
Sarkozy’s co-defendants — his lawyer and longtime friend Thierry Herzog, 65, and now-retired magistrate Gilbert Azibert, 74 — were also found guilty and given the same sentence as the politician.
The court found that Sarkozy and his co-defendants sealed a “pact of corruption,” based on “consistent and serious evidence”.
The court said the facts were “particularly serious” given that they were committed by a former president who used his status to help a magistrate who had served his personal interest. In addition, as a lawyer by training, he was “perfectly informed” about committing an illegal action, the court said.
Sarkozy had firmly denied all the allegations against him during the 10-day trial that took place at the end of last year. The corruption trial focused on phone conversations that took place in February 2014.