Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been sentenced to one year in prison by a Paris court after he was found guilty of corruption and influence peddling on Monday.
Sarkozy, 66, was president from 2007 to 2012. He was convicted of trying to bribe a magistrate in exchange for information about a legal case in which he was implicated.
Prosecutors told the judges that Sarkozy had offered to secure a job in Monaco for judge Gilbert Azibert, in return for confidential information about an inquiry into allegations that he had accepted illegal payments from L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt for his 2007 presidential campaign.
This came to light while they were wiretapping conversations between Sarkozy and his lawyer Thierry Herzog after the right-wing leader left office. The wiretapping was carried out in relation to another investigation into alleged Libyan financing of the same campaign.
According to the details of the sentence, he will remain free while he appeals. However, the verdict comes as a blow to the retired politician who still plays an influential role in French conservative politics.
Sarkozy had begun eyeing a political comeback for France’s 2022 presidential election with many from his party, Les Republicains, in support of his return, according to a CNN report.
The court said Sarkozy will be entitled to request to be detained at home with an electronic bracelet, should his appeal go unsuccessful.
It’s not the end of his legal troubles either: He faces another trial later this month and is also under investigation in a third case, according to AP.
Sarkozy denies wrongdoing
Sarkozy had denied any wrongdoing, saying he was the victim of a witch-hunt by financial prosecutors who used excessive means to snoop on his affairs.
His wife, supermodel and singer Carla Bruni, reacted by describing the case as “senseless persecution”, adding that “the fight continued, and truth would come out”.
Sarkozy has 10 days to launch an appeal.
NEWS/PHOTO SOURCE: World News Agencies | AFP via Getty Images