Former president Sarkozy given historic prison sentence for corruption
Paris, Mar 1 (efe-epa).- Nicolas Sarkozy was sentenced to three years in prison on Monday for corruption and influence peddling, making him the first former French president to be sentenced to prison.
Two of the three years were suspended, the Paris Correctional Court said. The third year will be served under house arrest.
Sarkozy was found guilty of attempting to bribe magistrate Gilbert Azibert, in exchange for information relating to a criminal investigation into the former president’s party.
Sarkozy’s lawyer, Thierry Herzog, and Azibert were also found guilty and received the same sentence.
The sentences are shorter than the two years in prison the prosecution had requested.
The judges said prosecutors had proven there was a pact to benefit Sarkozy’s judicial interests in cases opened after his departure from the Elysee in 2012.
The allegations came to light in telephone conversations between Sarkozy and his lawyer tapped by the police in 2014, in which it emerged that they had contacted Azibert, then a member of the Supreme Court, to obtain information in another case opened against the former president in exchange for helping the magistrate to get a post in Monaco.
The sentence reflects the “particular gravity” of the crime committed by Sarkozy because of his status as former president who “used his office and his relations” for “his personal interest”.
Moreover, according to the verdict, Sarkozy must have been aware of the offenses committed because of his training as a lawyer.
The judge was also severely critical of Herzog, one of the most reputable lawyers in Paris, and Azibert, whom he accused of “discrediting a profession whose function is basic to democracy”.
The historic conviction of Sarkozy, who is expected to appeal the sentence, comes two weeks before the opening of another trial involving the former president into alleged irregularities in the financing of his 2012 presidential election campaign. EFE-EPA