Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy: sentenced to jail

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was on Thursday sentenced to a year in jail after being found guilty of illegally financing his 2012 election campaign.

Sarkozy, 66, who denied any wrongdoing, was not in court to face the ruling. His lawyer has confirmed that he will appeal.

He was accused of having spent about €22.5 million — almost twice the maximum legal amount — for his 2012 reelection campaign. He went on to lose to Socialist Francois Hollande.

Prosecutors believe Sarkozy knew weeks before the ballot that his expenses — which are strictly limited under French law — were getting close to the legal maximum. They accused him of having ignored two notes from his accountants warning about the money issue.

He is not accused of being part of the system of false invoices at the heart of the fraud, but prosecutors argued Sarkozy is “the only person responsible for his campaign financing” and that he chose to exceed the limit by organising many rallies, including giant ones.

Prosecutors had requested a year’s imprisonment, including six months suspended, and a fine of €3,750.

The President of the 11th Correctional Chamber Caroline Viguier said Sarkozy “continued to organise meetings” despite being “warned in writing of the risk of exceeding” the legal limit.

“This was not his first campaign, he had experience as a candidate,” the magistrate continued.

Prosecutors had requested a year’s imprisonment, including six months suspended, and a fine of €3,750.

The President of the 11th Correctional Chamber Caroline Viguier said Sarkozy “continued to organise meetings” despite being “warned in writing of the risk of exceeding” the legal limit.

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“This was not his first campaign, he had experience as a candidate,” the magistrate continued.

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