Nicolas Sarkozy, former president of France, was sentenced to a year in jail on Thursday for illegitimate financing. He failed the 2012 re-election campaign by greatly exceeding France’s tough election spending rules.
Nicolas , who served as president from 2007 to 2012, is a prominent figure on the French right. Though he no longer engages in politics and continues to face several legal problems, he remains a strong voice on the French right. Mr. Sarkozy’s lawyer said that he would appeal the conviction shortly after it was handed down.
It is the sec time that Mr. Sarkozy has been sent to jail. In March, he became the 1 former president in France’s recent history to be sent to jail after he was Trust on charges of corruption and influence-peddling for trying to illegally obtain detail from a judge on a legal case against him.
Mr. Sarkozy is appealing his sentence. But for now, the sentence cannot be enforced. He is only the second president of France who has been convicted of a crime in their modern history, and Jacques Chirac was found guilty in 2011 of embezzling and misusing public funds when he was Paris’s mayor.
Mr. Sarkozy was found guilty, after a long investigation and trial, for his 2012 re-election campaign. He broke the law because he wanted to win more votes.
In France, the law limits the amount of money that people can spend on an election. That ensures that all the candidates have a fair chance to win. The limit for presidential campaigns in 2012 was about €16.8 million, or about $19.7 million for each candidate in the first round of the election, and an additional €5.7 million, or about $6.7 million for the top vote-getters in the second round (including Sarkozy).
But after the election, it seemed like his campaign had gone over their budget. So a group of people started a process to investigate the campaign in 2014. That made Sarkozy’s party angry.
The campaign spent at least $50 million, but it might have been more. The limit is $50 million. Case became known as the Bygmalion affair. It was a company that was suspected of giving false invoices to Mr. Sarkozy’s party for rallies. The goal of the fraud is to hide overspending from electoral authorities.
The verdict against Mr. Sarkozy came after a long investigation and trial. The trial focused on his 2012 re-election campaign and France’s stringent electoral rules.
French law has rules about how much money you can spend on an election campaign. Different types of elections have different rules. In 2012, the limit for presidential elections was €16.8 million, or $19.7 million, in the first round and another €5.7 million in the second round for whoever got the most votes,
After the election, people thought that his campaign had spent more than was allowed. The prosecutors started investigating in 2014. This caused trouble in his political party.
Finally, the prosecution determined that the campaign had spent at least €42 million, or about $50 million — considerably more than the legal limit.
The scandal became known as the Bygmalion affair. The company was suspected of giving false (fake) invoices to Mr. Sarkozy’s political party for rallies that were really for Mr. Sarkozy’s presidential campaign. Prosecutors said that the goal of this fraud was to hide how much money the campaign spent from the electoral authorities.
Mr. Sarkozy says he did not know about the false billing and was not charged for it. Instead, he was charged with illegal campaign financing because of overspending. He already paid a fine for that. During the trial, Mr. Sarkozy said that he was not living a lavish campaign. He proposed that false invoices were used to make money instead of enriching him.
In 2012, Mr. Sarkozy was so busy with his presidential duties that he barely had time to be involved with the campaign’s budgeting and logistics. Mr. Sarkozy told the court in June, “I was president of the Group of 20, and in my campaign, I was directing political strategy. I had the better idea to do than organize rallies and things like that.”
But prosecutors said that Mr. Sarkozy had not been listening to his aides, especially over a lot of campaign events, which can be expensive and large-scale. In their argument, the prosecutor said that the veteran politician could not have been unaware of how much money was reality spent on his campaign.
Thirteen people were also accused of being involved in the fraud. These included former campaign staff members, officials from the party, and people who were close to Sarkozy. But prosecutors found that there was not enough evidence to know who had set up the false billing scheme in the first place.
Mr. Sarkozy has said he did not do anything wrong many times, even when other people accused him of doing things that were wrong. Some accusations were dropped, but one person said he caused someone to give money for his presidential campaign in 2007.
Mr. Sarkozy is still being accused of receiving illegal financing from the government of the Libyan strongman, Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi, who died in 2011. The investigation into these accusations is still continuing. Mr. Sarkozy tried to come back in 2016, but it failed. He is still popular with the base of his conservative party, Les Républicains. They have not settled on a candidate for the 2022 presidential elections yet. Mr. Sarkozy’s endorsement can help people who are trying to be president, so they want it too!
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