Nicolas Sarkozy, former French president, sentenced to 1 year in prison for illegal campaign financing
“Nicolas Sarkozy knew the spending limit,” said the judge. “He knew he shouldn’t pass him.
Speaking outside the courtroom on Thursday, Sarkozy’s lawyer Thierry Herzog told French media he would appeal.
This is the second criminal case involving Sarkozy. In March, he was sentenced to three years in prison, two of which were suspended, for corruption and influence peddling. The 66-year-old has appealed the March conviction.
First started in March 2014, the criminal investigation into what has come to be dubbed the “Bygmalion Affair”, found that Sarkozy’s campaign spent more than $ 54 million during the campaign using bogus bills, well above the limit of $ 24 million set by French electoral laws.
Sarkozy fought a long legal battle to try to prevent the trial from proceeding, but his appeal was dismissed at the end of 2018 and the trial opened on May 20, 2021, after being delayed for two months due to the hospitalization of a key lawyer for the accused for Covid-19. .
The legal cap on campaign funds was a well-known fact within Sarkozy’s campaign team. On March 7, 2012, they received their first memo from their accountants warning them of the rapidly increasing cost of the campaign, urging them to “correct the trajectory,” said Guillaume Lambert, Sarkozy’s 2012 campaign manager, in a statement. interview given to France 2 television earlier this year. year.
Lambert said he spoke to Sarkozy about the note and told him about the need to cut campaign spending, while Sarkozy maintained he had no knowledge of overspending.
Sarkozy’s legal woes are not yet over as French prosecutors investigate alleged illegal financing of the Libyan campaign. The former Libyan leader, the late Muammar Kadhafi, reportedly supplied Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign with millions of euros shipped to Paris in suitcases.