A French court on Thursday sentenced former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to one year in prison for illegally financing his election campaign for the Presidency in 2012, about six months after being sentenced to three years in prison for crimes of corruption and influence peddling.
The former president will have to serve his sentence “under electronic surveillance,” according to the court, which has also sentenced Jérôme Lavrilleux, Jean-François Copé’s chief of staff and deputy director of Sarkozy’s campaign, to three years in prison.
Judge Caroline Viguier highlighted during the reading of the verdict that “Sarkozy knew the legal amount of the spending cap” and said that “he was warned in writing of the risk of exceeding it through two notes”, as reported by the French newspaper ‘ Le Monde ‘.
“It was not his first campaign and he was aware of the rules of law,” said the judge, who pointed out that, despite all this, “Sarkozy continued to hold meetings in the same conditions as until then.”
In this sense, she has emphasized that “Sarkozy knew his campaign accounts” and added that spending exceeded the limit by more than 16.2 million euros. “The court considers that the ceiling was exceeded from the 18th meeting, on March 31, 2012. From that date, each act was an offense,” she assessed.
Sarzoky was being tried along with thirteen other people – all of them convicted – in the ‘Bygmalion’ case, which revolves around an alleged falsification of invoices so that his campaign would remain below the limit established by regulation gala. Investigators suspect that the real cost was around 42 million euros, well above the 22.5 million required.
The former French president was already sentenced at the beginning of March to three years in prison for corruption and influence peddling, at the end of a process in which it was concluded that he had offered a favorable treatment to a judge in exchange for privileged information.