In 2012, Nicolas Sarkozy’s reelection campaign is said to have covered up excessive spending. Now, after a long investigation, a trial begins. The former president is threatened with a new conviction.
Paris (AP) – More than two weeks ago, Nicolas Sarkozy was sentenced to prison, now the former French head of state is on trial again on Wednesday (1.30 p.m.).
The 66-year-old is accused of illegally funding the campaign for his re-election in 2012. The Conservative then lost to his socialist challenger François Hollande.
13 other defendants must answer for fraud or complicity in a criminal court in Paris. As media reported, the trial could be postponed immediately after the start because a defendant’s lawyer was seriously ill. The prosecutor initially did not comment on a possible postponement. The negotiations are currently scheduled to last until April 15th.
Sarkozy, who ruled the Élysée Palace from 2007 to 2012, is facing a one-year prison sentence and a fine of EUR 3,750 in the retrial. He had denied the allegations.
Sarkozy’s former UMP party, now rebranded as Republican, would not have taken campaign costs into account as such. For this there should have been a system of fictitious invoices. The upper limit allowed at the time was 22.5 million euros. As much as EUR 42.8 million would have been spent. The background is the “Bygmalion Affair” about a communications agency that bears this name.
According to the media, Sarkozy is not accused of creating the system of fictitious invoices – but he is said to have ignored two warnings from accountants.
At the beginning of the month, the former civil rights hopes were sentenced to three years in prison, two of them suspended, in another affair for bribery and illicit influence. No president of the «Fifth Republic» of France, founded in 1958, has so far been punished so severely. The former president had announced that he would appeal against this ruling. Sarkozy has turned his back on politics, but still has significant background influence.
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