France’s Sarkozy convicted of corruption

Nicolas Sarkozy

Paris: France’s former President Nicolas Sarkozy was found guilty of corruption on Monday and sentenced to three years in prison, a stunning fall from grace for a man who led his country and bestrode the world stage for five years.

Financial prosecutors convinced a Paris court that after Sarkozy left office he tried to bribe a judge and influence-peddle in exchange for confidential information relating to an investigation into his 2007 campaign finances.

However, the 66-year-old Sarkozy, who denied all wrongdoing, may not spend any time in prison. Two years of his sentence were suspended, and the presiding judge said she would accept allowing him to be tagged with an electronic bracelet outside of prison for the remaining year.

“He took advantage of his status and the relationships he had made,” presiding judge Christine Mee told the court.

Sarkozy, who served as president from 2007 to 2012, is the second head of state in modern-day France to be convicted of corruption.

Retired from politics but still influential among conservatives, Sarkozy has 10 days to appeal the ruling. He left the court without speaking.