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Ex-French President Sarkozy sentenced to jail for illegal campaign funding

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been sentenced to a year in prison for illegally funding his unsuccessful 2012 re-election campaign.

Sarkozy was sentenced to prison by a Paris court on Thursday.

The 66-year-old former president was found guilty of spending more than $54 million on his campaign rallies and events — an amount above the $24 million permitted under the French electoral laws.

Sarkozy’s party — the Union for a Popular Movement — reportedly tried to hide the costs by hiring a PR firm called Bygmalion to invoice the party, not the campaign.

The court ruled that though the former president may not have known the full details of the fraud, he must have been aware that the limits were breached and did nothing about it.

The court, however, said the former president could serve the sentence at home by wearing an electronic bracelet.

Thierry Herzog, Sarkozy’s lawyer, said the former president will appeal the ruling.

This is the second time the former president would be handed a prison term within the year.

In March, he was sentenced to three years in prison for corruption and influence-peddling, but he appealed the conviction.

Sarkozy served a five-year term as president from 2007. In 2012, he lost his re-election bid to François Hollande of the Socialist Party.

 

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