On March 1, a French court sentenced former French President Nicolas Sarkozy (2007-2012) to a year in prison and two years suspended for corruption, influence peddling and violation of secrecy of the court investigation. He became the first French president to be sentenced to jail.
In accordance with French law, if the sentence is to less than two years, then the convicted person may ask to serve the sentence at home.
Two other defendants are Sarkozy’s ex-lawyer Thierry Erzog and former judge of the French Constitutional Court Gilbert Azibert. They were found guilty of disclosing professional secrets and sentenced to similar terms.
Sarkozy was accused of trying to illegally obtain information from an employee of the French court of cassation Gilbert Azibert about an investigation into the illegal financing of his presidential campaign by daughter of the L’Oreal company founder, Liliane Bettencourt.
It was assumed that Sarkozy promised through his lawyer to help Aziber in obtaining a prestigious position in Monaco inxchange for secret information. Records of intercepted telephone conversations between Sarkozy and Erzog in 2013-2014 were cited as evidence. During these conversations, the interlocutors used the pseudonyms. Sarkozy was called Paul Bismuth.
Now another case is being investigated against former French President. It concerns the illegal receipt of funds from the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
In March 2011, the son of the former Libyan leader, Saif al-Islam, made a loud statement that Muammar Gaddafi financed Sarkozy’s election campaign in 2006 and allocated money to him later. According to Saif the bargain included more than 50 million euros. After the lawyer of the former Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi said that his client had confirmed the transfer of money from Gaddafi to Sarkozy, the French prosecutor’s office began checking the financing of Sarkozy’s 2006-2007 election campaign.
Other indicted in this case include former Elysée secretary general Claude Guéant, former campaign treasurer Eric Woerth and former minister Brice Hortefeux.
The French National Financial Prosecutor’s Office also confirmed on January 15 that it had opened an investigation for “influence peddling” and “crime laundering or delict” targeting its advisory activities in Russia.
The FNP embarked on these investigations following a report by the financial intelligence service Tracfin, concerning the reasons why Mr. Sarkozy was paid by a Russian insurance company, Reso-Garantia. The Reso-Garantia insurance group is owned by two Russian-Armenian brothers, billionaires Sergey and Nikolay Sarkisov, who confirmed to Mediapart that they had hired Mr. Sarkozy as “special adviser” and “chairman of the strategic advisory committee to from the administration board “.
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