Nicolas Sarkozy: Former French President to wear electronic tag after losing corruption appeal | world news

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy will be forced to wear an electronic tag after losing an appeal against his corruption conviction.

The Paris Court of Appeal confirmed a three-year prison sentence given to Sarkozy in 2021 after being convicted of attempting to bribe a judge when he left office.

He was also convicted of influence peddling in exchange for confidential information about an investigation into his 2007 campaign finances.

Two years of the prison sentence will be suspended, in accordance with the initial decision, decided on Wednesday the court of appeal.

Sarkozy, 68, will wear the electronic tag instead of spending the third year of his sentence behind bars.

He has always denied any wrongdoing.

His lawyers described the court decision as “stunning” and vowed to challenge the decision in the High Court.

Defense lawyer Jacqueline Laffont insisted that Sarkozy was “innocent of the charges” and said “we will not give up this fight”.

Sarkozy pictured during a visit to Downing Street in 2010

“Phone tapping case”

Sarkozy, who led France from 2007 to 2012, left the court without speaking to reporters.

He suffered spectacular disgrace following his conviction, known nationwide as the “wiretapping case”.

It’s one of many legal battles the former president is embroiled in.

The case at the center of Wednesday’s ruling is indirectly linked to alleged illegal campaign funding ahead of his 2007 election.

Investigators investigating money flows from Libya – for which he could face another trial – tapped two of Sarkozy’s phone lines and uncovered a secret line used by him and his lawyer Thierry Herzog.

Sarkozy pictured in 2018 with his wife, Carla Bruni Sarkozy, and his successor, former President Francois Hollande Pic: AP
Sarkozy pictured with his wife Carla Bruni Sarkozy and his successor François Hollande in 2018. Photo: AP

Sarkozy plotted to secure a high-level job in Monaco for Judge Gilbert Azibert in exchange for inside information about an investigation into allegations that he accepted illegal payments from L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.

The appeals court also upheld the bribery and influence peddling charges against Herzog and Azibert.

Presiding judge Sophie Clément said Herzog’s judgment failed him because of his friendship with the former French president.

The lawyer violated professional codes of conduct by failing to warn Sarkozy that he was breaking the law, the judge said.

Sarkozy claimed he was unaware of what Herzog and Azibert discussed and argued that the tapped conversations should not be presented as evidence in court.

However, his arguments were rejected by the judge.

Sarkozy pictured with deceased former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2007 File Pic: AP
Sarkozy with Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2007. File Pic: AP

Sarkozy could be back in the dock

French prosecutors are seeking to bring Sarkozy and 12 others to justice over allegations that the government of late Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi secretly paid him 50m euros (£43m) for his election campaign 2007 winner.

The sum was more than double the legal campaign finance limit at the time and would have breached rules against overseas campaign finance.

Franco-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine told independent French online newspaper Mediapart in 2016 how he delivered suitcases of cash from Libya to Sarkozy and his former chief of staff.

However, Takieddine later changed his story and Sarkozy tried to have the investigation shut down.

France’s national prosecutor’s office announced its decision to seek a trial last Friday – with Sarkozy’s fate now in the hands of judges who will decide whether the case should proceed.

Judges in France generally follow these requests from prosecutors – although this is not a rule.

In an unrelated matter, Sarkozy was sentenced in September to one year of house arrest for illegal campaign financing of his unsuccessful 2012 re-election bid, when he lost power Francois Hollande.

Sarkozy and the late Jacques Chirac, who was also convicted of corruption in 2011, are the only 64-year-old presidents of France’s Fifth Republic to have been sentenced by a court.


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