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Sarkozy’s corruption

Updated: Mar 16, 2021

Nicolas Sarkozy served as President of France from 2007 to 2012. He adopted tough anti-immigration policies and aimed to reform France's economy during a presidency that was “overshadowed” by the global financial crisis. He was nick-named "bling-bling" because of his harsh and celebrity-driven style. In 2012 he lost his re-election. Since then he has faced multiple criminal allegations. He also attempted to return to politics in 2017 but failed.

The current case is centered on phone conversations between Sarkozy and his lawyer, Herzog, that were taped by police in 2014 (the secret number set up for communication between Sarkozy and his lawyer). The investigation referred to illicit payment from the L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt to Sarkozy for his 2007 presidential campaign. The prosecution claimed and convinced the Court that Sarkozy and Herzog tried to bribe Azibert with a prestigious job in Monaco in return for information about that investigation.

Even though Nicolas Sarkozy “is no stranger to legal investigations” his record sheet was clean. Many investigations happened against him but none of them was fruitful. However, in just 30 minutes in the courtroom in Paris's new Palais de Justice everything changed. Judge Mée read out a verdict that spared nothing, and no-one. Sarkozy, Thierry Herzog and Gilbert Azibert all knew perfectly well what they were doing; they were trading confidential information for professional favors. The crimes were specified as influence-peddling and violation of professional secrecy.

The 66 year old is the first former French President to get a custodial sentence. Sarkozy has been sentenced to three years in jail, two of them suspended. His lawyer stated that his client will appeal and will remain free during that process (which could take years). Thus, his team will continue to argue and will not rest aside (they could claim “eavesdroppings on confidential phone-chats between a man and his lawyer”). Even if his appeal isn’t efficient “he could serve a year at home with an electronic tag, rather than go to jail”.

The once innocent and wronged politician has now been convicted in court.


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