Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy will sit on the dock from today in the so-called wiretapping case. Sarkozy will be tried in the Paris Correctional Court for corruption and influence peddling, charges that he denies and for which he could be sentenced to a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a million euros fine. In addition to Sarkozy, who has been retired from politics since he lost the right-wing primaries in 2016, his lawyer and friend Thierry Herzog and former French magistrate Gilbert Azibert, also accused of violation of professional secrecy in this case, will also be tried in this case. dossier.
This is the first time that a former French president sits on the dock for corruption in the history of the Fifth Republic, established in 1958. His predecessor in the post, Jacques Chirac, was tried and sentenced in 2011 to two years in prison. prison with suspension of sentence for embezzlement in a case of fictitious jobs when he was mayor of Paris, but due to his delicate state of health he did not appear before the judges.
Sarkozy’s case came to light as a result of wiretaps. The French judges tapped Sarkozy’s mobile phone in 2013 as part of an investigation into the alleged Libyan financing of his 2007 presidential campaign, for which he ended up as president of France between May 2007 and May 2012. During the investigation, they discovered that Sarkozy had another phone line, which he used to talk to his lawyer, and they also tapped him. Sarkozy and Herzog were concerned about a decision that the Supreme Court was going to make and that was related to the return of the former president’s agendas, seized in the Bettencourt case. The courts had investigated whether Sarkozy had abused the weakness of Liliane Bettencourt, heir to the L’Oréal cosmetics empire, to illegally finance his 2007 election campaign. The judges ended up dismissing those charges in 2013.
More pending cases
Sarkozy, 65, wanted the diaries back to prevent their content from being used in further cases against him. The former president wanted to appear in the primaries of the right and did not want to have pending cases. In the end, he lost his party’s primaries.
With the wiretaps, they discovered that Sarkozy had allegedly promised through his lawyer to the magistrate Gilbert Azibert to influence him to obtain a position in the prestigious Council of State of Monaco in exchange for information protected by the secret of summary of the Bettencourt case. Azibert also allegedly had to convince the rest of the high court magistrates to return Sarkozy’s agendas. The former president did not finally do the management, probably because he discovered that his phone had been tapped, and the judge did not obtain the position he was seeking in the principality. The Monaco authorities assured that Sarkozy did not contact them about this matter.
This is not the only case that Sarkozy has pending with the justice. The former president will be tried in March for alleged illegal financing of his 2012 presidential campaign, a matter known in France as the ‘Bygmalion case’. And he has also been charged with several crimes in the case of the alleged Libyan financing of his campaign with which he won the 2007 presidential elections.