Former French PM arrested

Five-year French PM Nicholas Sarkozy sentenced to three years in jail for corruption

Photo by Olg@ on Flickr.

— 2 minute read — By Sam Portillo

Nicholas Sarkozy has been sentenced to three years in jail after it was found he tried to use his position to bribe a judge in 2014, two years after leaving office.

He is the first person who has served as Prime Minister in France to receive a custodial sentence, but the 66 year old’s lawyer says they will appeal the decision.

The case was built on recorded phone conversations between Sarkozy and his lawyer at the time of the incident, found when authorities were investigating claims that Sarkozy had accepted discrete payments from a stakeholder of L’Oreal in his presidential campaign.

French media reported that the former politician could be heard informing his lawyer of his plans, saying: “I’ll get [the judge] promoted, I’ll help him”.

The judge said that Sarkozy had proceeded with his actions despite “knowing what [he] was doing was wrong”, finding the former politician guilty of two crimes: influence-peddling and violation of professional secrecy.

It has been suggested that Sarkozy could serve a year at home with an electronic tag rather than spend the time in prison. His wife, Carla Bruni – who is famous in her own right as a singer and model – said that “the fight continued, and truth would come out”.

Sarkozy is due to face trial next month for a separate case, relating to accusations that he overspent his campaign for re-election in 2012, in which he lost to Francois Hollande, while investigators are also investigating claims that he received funding from former militaristic Libyan leader Gaddafi. In similar fashion to Donald Trump, who has also faced legal accusations, the former Prime Minister remains popular among conservative circles, leading some to speculate a potential run in next year’s election.