The Paris Court of Appeals upheld Wednesday a prison sentence of three years, including two suspended, against former French President Nicolas Sarkozy for corruption and influence peddling. Following the decision, Sarkozy’s legal team denied the charges and stated they plan to appeal the matter to France’s highest court of appeals, the Court of Cassation.
As a result of the court’s decision, Sarkozy will only be placed under electronic home arrest for a year, rather than serve the term in a French prison. If he commits no new offenses over the next five years, the remaining two years will be suspended.
During the appellate review, the court again heard recordings of Sarkozy’s chats with Herzog. These recordings played a critical role in the original case against Sarkozy in the Correctional Tribunal of Paris and are said to have been crucial in Wednesday’s decision.
From 2007 to 2012, Sarkozy served as France’s president. In March 2021, the Correctional Tribunal of Paris sentenced Sarkozy to three years in prison, however, Sarkozy was ordered to only serve one year, leaving the other two years suspended. Through wiretaps, prosecutors revealed that Herzog–Sarkozy’s former attorney–and Azibert created a “corruption pact” to gather and share information about a legal inquiry. In September 2021, another court also found Sarkozy guilty of illegally financing his 2012 re-election campaign. Sarkozy has also appealed that ruling.
Sarkozy’s conviction is only the second time a former French president has been found guilty of corruption and given a prison term.