A sentence of one year in prison, including six months suspended, and a 3,750 euros fine were required, Thursday, June 17, against Nicolas Sarkozy, tried before the Paris Criminal Court for the excessive expenditure of his 2012 presidential campaign. Sentences ranging from eighteen months to four years in prison were requested against the thirteen co-convicts tried alongside the former head of state.
“Nicolas Sarkozy visibly does not regret anything since he only came to one audience”, argued prosecutor Vanessa Perrée in denouncing “Total casualness” of the former president. “This behavior of not considering oneself as a litigant like another, as a citizen among the citizens, is in keeping with what it was during this presidential campaign, being outside the fray”, she continued sharply. “This casualness towards [des autres prévenus] and the court is a reflection of the flippancy in its campaign ”, she insisted.
In March, Nicolas Sarkozy had become the first ex-president of the Ve Republic to be sentenced to prison (three years, one of which is closed), for corruption and influence peddling in the so-called “wiretapping” affair.
Nicolas Sarkozy’s campaign was marked by a “Improvisation and a total lack of preparation”, said Mme Perrée during his indictment. The prosecutor also joked about these “Political professionals” who knew nothing about the cost of electoral rallies:
“Nicolas Sarkozy said: “Who can dare say that my campaign has slipped? It’s a joke !” But it’s a joke to make us believe that these people were not watching anything. It is a joke to see them hide behind their lack of competence. “
“There are fourteen defendants and almost as many versions. These multiple versions and their impossible combination show that there are necessarily lies ”, said, for his part, the prosecutor Nicolas Baietto. Despite the warning notes on the risk of the campaign cost being exceeded, as of March 7, 2012, “Nicolas Sarkozy wants one meeting a day” and therefore ” come what may ! “, quipped the prosecutor. For them, the guilt of the ex-leaders of Bygmalion, which organized the meetings, and of its subsidiary in charge of events, Event & Cie, as well as the ex-executives of the UMP, does not ” no doubt “.
Means “much superior” to those authorized by law
Throughout the debates, the former executives of the UMP (now Les Républicains) and Bygmalion, the campaign manager and the accountants all sought to minimize their role, or even to deny it.
Only four of the fourteen defendants (three former Bygmalion executives and the former deputy campaign manager of the president-candidate, Jérôme Lavrilleux) partially acknowledged their responsibility in the establishment of a system of false invoices imagined to hide the explosion in campaign spending for the president running for re-election. Prosecutors asked for three years in prison and a 50,000 euro fine for Mr. Lavrilleux. Against the three former executives of Bygmalion who admitted to having accepted the establishment of the system of false invoices, eighteen months of suspended prison were required.
The heaviest sentence (four years probation) was required against Eric Cesari, former director general of the UMP, and Guillaume Lambert, who was the director of the campaign in 2012.
Revealed two years after the defeat of Mr. Sarkozy, the scandal had led to serial explosions on the right. The investigation revealed that the real price of the 44 meetings organized by the event agency Bygmalion had been drastically reduced – 80% of the invoices have disappeared – and the rest paid by the UMP in the name of fictitious conventions of the party.
Investigation “Did not establish” that Nicolas Sarkozy would have it “Ordered”, that there would be “Participated”, or even that he would have been informed, according to the prosecution. On the other hand, it has some « unquestionably “ benefited, thus having “Means far superior to those authorized by law”. The legal ceiling was exceeded by 22 million euros.
A argument vigorously contested by the Head of State during his four hours of interrogation. There was no “No runaway” of the countryside, which looked like ” like a sister “ to that of 2007, or even that of his opponent in the second round, François Hollande, hammered Mr. Sarkozy at the helm. How then could the 2012 campaign have “Cost double”, he chanted. “Unbelievable! “
The former boss of the UMP, Jean-François Cope, heard as a simple witness in the trial, blasted Thursday on France Inter the “Untenable defense strategy” of Nicolas Sarkozy and his inability to “Assume” his actions.