Former French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has been sentenced to three-year imprisonment after he was found guilty of corruption in a case bordering on obtaining by false pretense.
As gathered, the Monday ruling deals a significant blow to the former president’s lingering political ambitions that could saw him return to the political arena.
According to the court ruling, the jail sentence includes two years suspended and the remaining year can be served at home with an electronic bracelet which meant that Sarkozy would not end up behind bars over the case.
The judge found the 66-year-old had formed a “corruption pact” with his former lawyer and friend Thierry Herzog in order to convince a judge, Gilbert Azibert, to obtain and share information about a legal investigation.
“The facts for which Nicolas Sarkozy is guilty are particularly serious having been committed by a former president who was the guarantor of the independence of the judiciary,” the judgment read.
Meanwhile, several hours after the verdict, Sarkozy, a one-term president from 2007-2012, announced an appeal with his lawyer calling the findings “extremely severe” and “totally unfounded and unjustified”.
The conviction sets a new low-point in the tumultuous political career of the right-winger who remains a dominant political figure in France, admired by fans for his tough talk on crime and immigration.
His sentence was also likely to undermine any attempted comeback to frontline politics — an ambition he has denied, but which has been promoted by many supporters ahead of 2022’s presidential election.
Wearing a dark suit and tie, Sarkozy showed no emotion as the sentence was read out and he left court without commenting to waiting journalists.
Reacting to the development through her social media page, Sarkozy’s wife, former supermodel, and singer Carla Bruni, said that “what a senseless witchhunt, my love Nicolas Sarkozy. The fight goes on, the truth will come out. #injustice.”
Only one other modern French president, Sarkozy’s political mentor Jacques Chirac, has been convicted of corruption.
Chirac, who did not attend proceedings in 2011 due to ill health, received a two-year suspended sentence over the creation of ghost jobs at the Paris city hall to fund his party when he was mayor.