France’s Sarkozy could avoid jail despite new conviction by Reuters

© Reuters file photo: Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy appeared at a hearing on alleged illegal financing of his failed re-election campaign in 2012, along with 113 other defendants, former Bygmalian officials and UMP representatives.

Written by Tangi Salan and Ingrid Melander

PARIS (Reuters) – Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been sentenced by a Paris court to one year in prison after being found guilty of funding illegal campaigning for a failed 2012 re-election proposal.

Sarkozy, 66, is unlikely to go to jail. He decided to appeal the sentence, a move that actually suspended it, and the judge said he could serve the sentence at home via electronic tags.

But the second https: This year has been a dramatic fall in grace for Sarkozy, the man who led and influenced France from 2007 to 2012. Kept among the conservatives.

These two faults could force Sarkozy to play a more prudent role in next year’s presidential election. He did not plan to run but as a popular figure on the right he is expected to support his party’s candidate.

Sarkozy’s conservative party, prosecutors say, has doubled the 22.5 million euros (currently $ 19.2 million) sanctioned under the election law to campaign rallies and then hired a friendly public relations firm to hide the cost.

Sarkozy denies wrongdoing. He said he was not involved with the logistics of his second term as president or how money was spent during the election.

“Can you imagine me going to a meeting to discuss the price of the flag?” He told the court in June. “I had a lot to do.”

“The moment I was told things were okay, I had no reason to worry about it anymore.”

But the court said Sarkozy was made aware of the extra cost, that he did not work on it and did not need his approval to be held responsible for every personal expense.

The second conviction

Several others facing charges were convicted of fraud in campaign financing and sentenced to 3-1 / 2 years in prison and hefty fines.

Sarkozy was convicted in a separate trial in March of trying to bribe and influence a judge to obtain confidential information in a judicial investigation. He also denied any wrongdoing in that case.

The former president was sentenced to three years in prison – two of which were suspended – but has not yet spent time in prison, although his appeal is pending.

It did not stop the presidential candidates from contesting for the votes of his supporters.

Conservatives Javier Bertrand, Valerie Pecres and Michelle Bernier – all of whom hope to be approved as Conservative candidates – all sent “messages of friendship” to Sarkozy via Twitter (NYSE :), saying they supported his decision to appeal.

“He knows he can count on me,” says Bertrand, who leads his rivals in opinion polls.

Sarkozy, the son of a Hungarian immigrant father, made his political debut as mayor of the wealthy district of Newell, just outside central Paris, before serving as finance minister under President Jacques Chirac.

As president, Sarkozy’s high-powered style and detrimental approach have polarized voters. His humble efforts in tax and labor reform and his limited success in job creation both disappointed free market and centralized voters.

Outside of France, he led a ceasefire in the Russia-Georgia war in 2008 and led a NATO-led military intervention in Libya in 2011 to support the uprising against its dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

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