As reported by TASS with reference to the Be-f-em TV channel, the Paris Correctional Court found former French President Nicolas Sarkozy guilty of illegally financing the 2012 election campaign.
The verdict was passed in the absence of Sarkozy, who did not attend the final session. The court considers that Sarkozy continued his campaign rallies despite exceeding the statutory spending limit. More than € 42 million was spent on the campaign instead of the legal € 22 million. The court has not yet determined the punishment, the verdict is being read.
This is not the first guilty verdict against Sarkozy. In March this year, a Paris court found Sarkozy guilty of corruption, abuse of influence and involvement in violation of the secrecy of the investigation. Sarkozy became the first ex-president of France to be sentenced to a real term of imprisonment.
According to the verdict of the court, Sarkozy will spend a year in prison. Initially, the prosecutor's office demanded that Sarkozy be sentenced to four years in prison, with serving the first two in prison, and the rest on probation.
The same terms were requested for two more defendants in the case - lawyer Thierry Erzog and former employee of the Court of Cassation Gilbert Azibert.
The previous case against Sarkozy concerned the illegal receipt of 150 thousand euros from the owner of L'Oreal, Liliane Bettencourt, intended for Sarkozy's election campaign. However, the hearings in this case ended with an acquittal for the ex-president.
The second case is inextricably linked with the previous one. The investigation believes that Sarkozy, in exchange for information about wiretapping in the Betancourt case, promised Gilbert Azibert assistance in his appointment to a post in Monaco. The lawyer of the ex-French President Thierry Erzogh acted as a mediator in the negotiations between Sarkozy and Aziber. Earlier it was reported that on the aggregate of charges, 65-year-old Sarkozy faced up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to a million euros and disqualification with a ban on holding positions in the civil service.
In January of this year, the French prosecutor's office suspected the former president of the country, Nicolas Sarkozy, of receiving money from Russia from one of the companies for promoting its interests. We are talking about the insurance company RESO-Garantia, with which a contract for three million euros was signed in 2019 for consulting services. The shareholder of this company is the French association Axa, which, in turn, was one of the key clients of the law firm Realyze, founded by President Sarkozy.
Sarkozy provided advice to the company, but the investigation suspects that the president was not limited to this, but in fact "traded his influence", defending the interests of the Russian company in France with the help of his connections. The investigation of this criminal case has been ongoing since the summer of 2020.
Sarkozy held the post of President of France from May 16, 2007 to May 15, 2012. In 2014, he led the opposition Union for the Popular Movement, now known as the Republicans.