French court upholds three-year sentence for ex-president Sarkozy in wiretapping case

French court upholds three-year sentence for ex-president Sarkozy in wiretapping case
# 17 May 2023 13:06 (UTC +04:00)

France's former president Nicolas Sarkozy lost his case on Wednesday against a 2021 conviction for corruption and influence peddling at the Paris Court of Appeals. The court upheld a sentence of three years with two years suspended; he will wear an electronic bracelet for the remaining year instead of going to prison. Sarkozy has vowed to appeal the verdict at France’s Supreme Court., APA reports citing France 24.

The 68-year-old, who served one term from 2007 to 2012, has been embroiled in legal troubles ever since leaving office.

In March 2021 he was sentenced to three years in prison – two of them suspended and one at home with an electronic bracelet – for corruption and influence peddling through a secret telephone line that was discovered through wiretapping.

The court found that Sarkozy and his former lawyer, Thierry Herzog, had formed a "corruption pact" with a judge, Gilbert Azibert, to obtain and share information about a legal investigation.

Investigators had wiretapped Sarkozy's two official phone lines. They discovered that he had a third unofficial one taken out in 2014 under the name "Paul Bismuth", through which he communicated with Herzog.

The contents of these phone calls led to the 2021 corruption verdict. Sarkozy contested the accusations and immediately appealed against his conviction.

On the first day of the appeals hearing in December last year, he said he had "never corrupted anybody".

His conversations with Herzog have now been played in court for the first time and were central in determining Wednesday's ruling.

The prosecutor's office had requested that Sarkozy, Herzog and Azibert each be handed a three-year suspended sentence.

They had also asked for Sarkozy and Azibert, 76, to be suspended from public office and Herzog, 67, to be banned from practising law, each for five years.