Former President Nicolas Sarkozy caught up in court cases

Former President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose appeal trial in the so-called “wiretapping” case opens on Monday, is living his political retirement under strong judicial pressure.

First conviction

In this case, Nicolas Sarkozy was sentenced at first instance, on March 1, 2021, by the Paris Criminal Court to three years in prison, including one firm, for corruption and influence peddling.

He was found guilty of having tried, with his lawyer Thierry Herzog, to obtain from a high magistrate, Gilbert Azibert, information covered by secrecy, even influence, on an appeal in cassation that he had trained in the Bettencourt affair.

In exchange: the promise of support for a position in Monaco. The former head of state appealed.

Bis repeated in Bygmalion

Nicolas Sarkozy was again sentenced, seven months later, to one year in prison in the Bygmalion case for the illegal financing of his lost presidential campaign in 2012.

Unlike his 13 co-defendants (former executives of the campaign and the UMP as well as the company Bygmalion), the ex-president was not implicated for the system of false invoices imagined to hide the explosion of expenses authorized campaign expenses, but for having exceeded the legal threshold for these expenditures by more than 20 million euros.

He calls. His trial will begin on November 8, 2023.

Indicted

Justice also suspects him of having financed his 2007 campaign with secret Libyan funds. This resounding investigation opened after the publication by Mediapart in 2012 of documents affirming that Tripoli would have, in 2006, given its agreement for a financing of 50 million euros.

Nicolas Sarkozy, who disputes the facts, was indicted on March 21, 2018 for passive corruption, illegal financing of an electoral campaign and concealment of Libyan public funds, then on October 12, 2020 for criminal association.

In October, the investigating judges announced that they had completed the investigation but they have not yet indicated whether or not they will order a trial.

Ongoing investigations

His lucrative consulting activities in Russia are also the subject of a preliminary investigation by the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF), which this time suspects the former president of possible “influence peddling”.

According to Mediapart, which released the information, this investigation was opened in the summer of 2020. It aims to determine whether he “would have engaged in potentially criminal lobbying activities” on behalf of Russian oligarchs.

Justice has also been investigating since 2019 for “active and passive corruption” on a lunch held in 2010 between Nicolas Sarkozy, then President of the Republic, two senior Qatari leaders and Michel Platini, at the time boss of UEFA.

Objective: to determine whether Mr. Platini’s vote in favor of Qatar for the 2022 World Cup was obtained in exchange for compensation.

Dismissed

The ex-president benefited from a dismissal in several cases: that on private jet trips, which had raised suspicions of abuse of corporate assets because they were paid by the company of one of his relatives, or in the investigation of the penalties due to the financial irregularities of his 2012 campaign settled by the UMP.

Justice has also abandoned its proceedings in the case of donations granted to the UMP by the wealthy heiress of the group.

L’Oréal Liliane Bettencourt (died in 2017), where he was briefly indicted for abuse of weakness.
Presidential immunity

In addition, four former members of Nicolas Sarkozy’s inner circle were convicted in January in the so-called Élysée polls case, billed without a call for tenders between 2007 and 2012. The former secretary general of the presidency and ex-minister Claude Guéant, sentenced to one year’s imprisonment, including eight months, appealed.

The former head of state, covered by presidential immunity, which prevails for acts performed in this capacity, has never been implicated in this case.

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