‘Jail Sarkozy for FOUR years’: French prosecutors call for lengthy sentence for ex-President if he is convicted of corruption
- Prosecutors demanded that former President Nicolas Sarkozy spend two years in a cell, with the remaining part of his term suspended following corruption trial
- This would make Sarkozy the first head of state in French history to go to prison
- Sarkozy, who denies all charges, accused of corruption and influence peddling
French prosecutors tonight called for a four-year prison sentence for former President Nicolas Sarkozy following a corruption trial.
The sensational request on Tuesday included a demand that the 65-year-old should spend two years in a cell, with the remaining part of his term suspended.
This would make Sarkozy the first head of state in French history to actually go to prison for criminal offences.
French prosecutors tonight called for a four-year prison sentence for former President Nicolas Sarkozy following a corruption trial. Pictured: Sarkozy waves as he leaves court today
It follows a two-week trial in which Sarkozy risked up to 10 years in prison and a fine approaching £1million if found guilty of corruption and influence peddling.
The verdict in the case is expected on Thursday of this week.
Sarkozy – who denied all charges – was specifically accused of trying to bribe a judge using a so-called ‘burner’ mobile phone and a false name.
Prosecutors also called for the same punishment for Sarkozy’s lawyer, Thierry Herzog, 65, and Gilbert Azibert, the 73-year-old retired judge who was said to have been bribed.
Jean-François Bohnert, the head of France’s National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF), said the request reflected the seriousness of the offence, and the amount of evidence against the three defendants, who all pleaded their innocence.
Prosecutors also called for the same punishment for Sarkozy’s lawyer, Thierry Herzog, 65, (pictured)
They also called for Gilbert Azibert (centre), the 73-year-old retired judge who was said to have been bribed, to receive the same punishment
Mr Bohnert said: ‘This trial is not an institutional revenge or that of the judiciary and even less that of the PNF.
‘No one is seeking revenge on a former President of the Republic’.
In prosecution documents, the three were said to have been part of a ‘corruption pact’, while Sarkozy himself was referred to as a ‘serial delinquent’.
The court heard how eavesdroppers from France’s intelligence services picked Sarkozy up using the fake name ‘Paul Bismuth’ as he discussed a bribe with Herzog.
The real Paul Bismuth – a 65-year-old property developer living in Israel – was furious that his name was used in this way.
Herzog and Azibert were also on trial for ‘breach of professional secrecy’.
Sarkozy was said to have offered Azibert a prestigious job in the Mediterranean tax haven of Monaco in return for privileged information about other criminal investigations into Sarkozy.
Cross-examined on Monday, Sarkozy said the claims were ‘an infamy’ which he wanted ‘to wash away’.
He added: ‘I have never, ever committed any act of corruption.’
The trial was considered particularly historic because no other president has been indicted over crimes committed while in office.
The trial was considered particularly historic because no other president has been indicted over crimes committed while in office. Pictured: Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy
The Paris home Sarkozy shares with his third wife, the former supermodel Carla Bruni, was raided by the fraud squad within days of his losing his presidential immunity from prosecution in 2012.
Jacques Chirac, president between 1995 and 2007, was convicted of illegal party funding in 2011, but this offence related to his time as Paris mayor.
The late president received a two-year suspended prison sentence but did not appear in the dock because of ill health.
Sarkozy has fought furiously over the past six years to have the case thrown out.
‘I’m not a crook,’ he told a TV interviewer earlier this month, while also discussing his indictment in a separate case in which he is accused of receiving illegal cash from Colonel Gaddafi.
After the current trial, Sarkozy will be in court for a series of other alleged offences next year.
The most serious is that he accepted at least £42million in cash from the late Gaddafi – somebody he once viewed as a friend.
Ms Bruni, 52 and currently promoting a new album of pop songs, was not in court today.
Source: Read Full Article