Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday was convicted by a Paris court for breaking the country’s campaign spending laws in his unsuccessful 2012 re-election bid and sentenced to one year of house arrest, a ruling that comes seven months after he was convicted in a separate corruption and influence peddling case and sentenced to three years in prison.
- Sarkozy, France’s president from 2007 to 2012, was found guilty of spending almost twice the maximum legal amount of €22.5 million ($26 million) on his 2012 re-election bid—which he eventually lost to Francois Hollande.
- In its ruling, the court said that Sarkozy “knew” the legal spending limit and “voluntarily” failed to supervise additional expenses.
- Sarkozy, who has accused the judiciary of hounding him, was not present at the court for the verdict.
According to France24, Sarkozy remains a hugely popular and influential figure among French conservatives despite being caught up in several investigations and scandals.
Thursday’s ruling comes seven months after the former French president was handed a three year prison sentence for corruption and influence peddling. In that case, Sarkozy was found guilty of attempting to illegally obtain information about an ongoing investigation into his campaign finances. He was then sentenced to three years in prison with two years suspended. In that case also the judge ruled that the former French leader could serve his sentence by wearing an electronic bracelet at home. Sarkozy has appealed the court’s ruling in the corruption case.
With the corruption case sentencing, Sarkozy became the first president in post-war France to be handed a custodial or prison sentence. His predecessor Jacques Chirac was found guilty of misuse of public funds in 2011 but he was only handed a two year suspended sentence.