FRANCE: Ex-French president given a one-year sentence for illegal campaign financing

 

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was convicted by a French court on Thursday because of illegal campaign financing over massive overspending on his 2012 re-election campaign and was sentenced to one year in prison. The verdict came six months after Sarkozy was found guilty of corruption in a separate trial.

 

The ex-president who spent almost twice the legal limit on his failed bid for a second term in office was absent at the Paris court during the announcement of the verdict.

 

The 66-year-old right-winger did all he could in 2012 to try to fend off the ultimately victorious Socialist candidate, François Hollande.

 

A string of lavish U.S.-style election rallies showed his massive spending, with the final bill coming to at least 42.8 million euros (49.7 million U.S. dollars), nearly double the legal limit of 22.5 million euros.

 

The case is known as the Bygmalion affair, after the name of the public relations firm which set up a system of fake invoices in order to distort the actual cost of the events.

 

Prosecutors sought a one-year prison sentence, half of it suspended, for the former president. However, it is, in any case, unlikely that Sarkozy will go to jail immediately as he would be expected to appeal the sentence.

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