- Title: Verdict due in Sarkozy trial over illegal campaign financing
- Date: 29th September 2021
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (FILE - JUNE 15, 2021) (REUTERS) FORMER FRENCH PRESIDENT, NICOLAS SARKOZY, ARRIVING AT PARIS COURTROOM FOR TESTIMONY IN ILLEGAL CAMPAIGN FINANCING TRIAL
- Embargoed: 13th October 2021 16:30
- Keywords: France Sarkozy UMP campaign financing presidential election trial
- Location: PARIS AND SURESNES, FRANCE
- City: PARIS AND SURESNES, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Europe,Judicial Process/Court Cases/Court Decisions
- Reuters ID: LVA001EWRX8HZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A Paris court will say on Thursday (September 30) if former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his campaign team were guilty of illegal campaign financing over his failed 2012 re-election bid.
If convicted, this will be the second guilty verdict this year for the man who ruled France from 2007 to 2012 and retains influence among conservatives despite falling from grace over his legal woes.
Prosecutors are seeking a one-year prison sentence, half of which suspended, for the 66-year old former president. Even if found guilty, he is unlikely to go to jail immediately as he would be expected to appeal the sentence.
His conservative party, the prosecutors said, spent nearly double the 22.5 million euros allowed under electoral law on extravagant campaign rallies and then hired a friendly public relations agency to hide the cost.
Sarkozy has denied any wrongdoing. He told the court in June that he had not been involved in the logistics of his campaign for a second term as president nor in how money was spent during the election run-up.
"Can you imagine me going into a meeting to discuss the cost of flags?" he told the court. "I wouldn't have lasted two minutes. I had too much to do."
"From the moment I was told things were in order, I had no reason to give it more thought."
Prosecutors acknowledged their investigation had failed to prove Sarkozy either organised or was involved in illegal financing, but argued he had ignored warnings of an overspend from which he benefited.
The former president was found guilty in a separate trial in March of trying to bribe a judge and peddle influence in order to obtain confidential information on a judicial inquiry.
He was sentenced to three years in jail in that trial - two of which were suspended - but has not actually spent time in prison yet, while his appeal is pending.
(Production: Ardee Napolitano)
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