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French ex-president Sarkozy to stand trial

10.01.2020, 18:52 3700
French ex-president Sarkozy to stand trial
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy will stand trial in October on corruption charges over allegations that he attempted to unlawfully obtain confidential information from a judge, China Daily reports.
The former leader will stand trial from Oct 5 to 22, in what will be the first in several graft cases against the 64-year-old, according to AFP. A court ruled last year that Sarkozy must also stand trial for illegal campaign financing when he unsuccessfully ran for office in 2012. Sarkozy, who led France from 2007 to 2012, denies any wrongdoing.
The AFP reports the information that he allegedly tried to obtain from the magistrate-resulting in this corruption trial-was about another case that he was involved in that has been dismissed.
It says Sarkozy is accused of seeking the information from the former court official, Gilbert Azibert, in exchange for helping him obtain a job in Monaco. Sarkozy allegedly made the offer through lawyer Thierry Herzog. Azibert and Herzog are also accused in the case, which is expected to be the first of the legal actions against Sarkozy to go to trial.
Since leaving office, after losing to the Socialist party's Francois Hollande, Sarkozy has faced a bombardment of corruption and campaign financing allegations, all of which he rejects.
Last October, a court ruled he must stand trial for illicit campaign financing-a charge for which he risks a one-year jail term and a fine. Prosecutors say Sarkozy spent nearly 43 million euros ($48 million) on his failed 2012 reelection bid-almost double the legal limit of 22.5 million euros-using fake invoices.
He said he was unaware of the fraud by executives at the public relations company Bygmalion, who are among 13 others being pursued in the case.
The Guardian reports that Sarkozy has also been charged over accusations he accepted millions of euros from the regime of Libya's former leader Muammar Gaddafi toward his first presidential campaign in 2007. French authorities started tapping Sarkozy's phone in 2013 to investigate the claims, according to a Bloomberg report.
The first former French president to be put on trial was Jacques Chirac, who died in September. In 2011, he was found guilty of embezzlement and misuse of public funds during his time as mayor of Paris.
Other senior French politicians charged with financial misconduct have included former prime ministers Edouard Balladur, Francois Fillon and Alain Juppe.
Fillon crashed out of the running for the presidency in 2017 after being charged with using public funds to pay his wife for a fake job as his assistant. Juppe, a prime minister under Chirac, was given a suspended jail sentence in 2004 over a party funding scandal. Balladur, 90, faces charges of campaign finance violations.
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