Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, 66, an influential figure on the French right, has been sentenced by a Court in Paris to a year in prison for illegally funding his unsuccessful 2012 re-election campaign. He spent tens of millions of euros more on his campaign than was permitted under the law, nearly double the legal limit. He tried to hide the costs by hiring a PR firm called Bygmalion to invoice the party, not the campaign. A series of other party members or events organisers were found guilty of further charges of setting up or benefiting from a fake billing scheme. In court, the state prosecutor highlighted Sarkozy’s “couldn’t care less” attitude in demanding one rally a day in the form of vast “American-style shows”. Mr Sarkozy denies any wrongdoing and is expected to appeal.
The judge said he could serve the sentence at home with an electronic tag. Mr Sarkozy served a five-year term as president from 2007. Earlier this year he was given a suspended prison sentence for trying to bribe a judge in 2014. Sarkozy is now in the extraordinary and unprecedented situation of having two custodial sentences. Sarkozy is also investigated being accused that he secretly received €50m from the former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi for his successful 2007 election campaign.