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Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy sentenced to prison for corruption

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrives at court for the verdict of his trial for corruption and influence-peddling - Credit: Getty Images

A French court has found Nicolas Sarkozy guilty of influence peddling, as the former president was sentenced to three years in prison.

Sarkozy’s trial was the first time a former French president has stood trial over corruption charges as he was accused of using his political influence to bribe a judge.

The ex-head of the French Republican party was found guilty of offering judge Gilbert Azibert a job in Monaco in exchange for information relating to a probe into the financing of his 2007 presidential campaign.

Azibert never received the job but prosecutors claimed that the “clearly stated promise” was considered corruption in the eyes of the law.

The allegations surrounded secretly recorded conversations between Sarkozy and his lawyer Theirry Herzog from February 2014.

MORE: France’s familiarity with political scandals

The former president, who led the country between 2007 and 2012, denied committing any acts of corruptions and blamed the court case on a smear campaign.

Sarkozy was sentenced to three years in prison, with two of them suspended, and told he can serve the term at home with an electronic tag. He is expected to appeal.

Herzog and Azibert were both given the same sentence.

The verdict was considered a landmark ruling for post-war France.

Jacques Chirac is the only other former French president to have stood trial following office. He received a two-year suspended sentence for misuse of public funds during his time as mayor of Paris back in 2011. He died in 2019.

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