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French court upholds three-year sentence for ex-president Sarkozy

A French court of appeals has upheld a prison sentence of three years, including two suspended, against former president Nicolas Sarkozy for corruption and influence peddling.

The 68-year-old, president from 2007 to 2012, was also banned from public office for three years for seeking to obtain information about a legal investigation from a judge via a secret telephone line.

Nicolas left the courtroom without making any comment, but his lawyer said they would be appealing the decision with the Court of Cassation, France’s highest appeals court.

The original sentence was imposed in March 2021 – three years in prison, two of them suspended and one at home with an electronic bracelet – for corruption and influence peddling through a secret telephone line that was discovered through wiretapping.

The court found that Sarkozy and his former lawyer, Thierry Herzog, had formed a “corruption pact” with a judge, Gilbert Azibert, to obtain and share information about a legal investigation.

Sarkozy, who served one term from 2007 to 2012, has been embroiled in legal troubles ever since leaving office.

In March 2021, he became France’s first postwar president to be sentenced to jail when a court found he and his former lawyer, Thierry Herzog, had formed a “corruption pact” with judge Gilbert Azibert to obtain and share information about a legal investigation.

The trial came after investigators wiretapped Sarkozy’s two official phone lines, and discovered that he also had a third unofficial one taken out in 2014 under the name “Paul Bismuth”, through which he communicated with Herzog.

The contents of these phone calls led to the 2021 corruption verdict.

The former leader contested the accusations and immediately appealed.

 

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