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Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy found guilty of illegally financing 2012 election bid

Prosecutors sought a one-year jail term, half of which would be suspended, for the 66-year-old former president. He is unlikely to go to jail right away because he is anticipated to appeal the sentence.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy found guilty of illegally financing 2012 election bid gcw
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France, First Published Sep 30, 2021, 4:08 PM IST
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A Paris court on Thursday convicted former French President Nicolas Sarkozy guilty of unlawful campaign funding in connection with his unsuccessful re-election attempt in 2012. This was Sarkozy's second guilty conviction this year. He led France from 2007 to 2012 and retains power among conservatives despite his legal troubles. The court has yet to decide on a punishment for him. Prosecutors sought a one-year jail term, half of which would be suspended, for the 66-year-old former president. He is unlikely to go to jail right away because he is anticipated to appeal the sentence.

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According to investigators, his conservative party spent over double the 22.5 million euros (now $19.2 million) permitted by-election rules on expensive campaign rallies and then engaged a favourable public relations firm to disguise the expense. Sarkozy has categorically denied any wrongdoing. In June, he informed the court that he was neither involved in the mechanics of his campaign for a second term as president, nor in how money was spent in the run-up to the election. The court, however, stated that Sarkozy was made aware of the expenditures, that he did not act on it, and that it was not required for him to authorise each spending in order for him to be held accountable.

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In March, Sarkozy was found guilty in a separate trial of trying to bribe a judge and peddle influence to obtain confidential information on a judicial inquiry. In this case, he likewise denied any misconduct. In that trial, the former president was sentenced to three years in prison – two of which were suspended – but has yet to serve any time in prison since his appeal is ongoing.

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