Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy exits the courthouse after appeal court upheld his corruption conviction, Paris, France, 17 May 2023. EFE/EPA/YOAN VALAT

Ex-French president Sarkozy loses corruption appeal

Paris, May 17 (EFE).- Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday lost his appeal against a three-year prison sentence for corruption and influence peddling after a Paris court upheld a sentence issued in 2021.

The court ruled, however, that the 68-year-old could serve his sentence under house arrest with an electronic tag instead of going to prison.

“This sentence is shocking. It is dubious, it is questionable,” Jacqueline Laffont, Sarkozy’s lawyer, said. “We are going to take it to the Court of Cassation (France’s top court), we will go to the end of the legal road if necessary.”

Sarokozy was sentenced in 2021 to three years in prison, including two years suspended, for crimes he committed in 2014.

The former politician has been embroiled in a legal battle since he left office in 2012 after serving one term.

The court found that Sarkozy used his influence to bribe Judge Gilbert Azibert.

Investigators had been wiretapping conversations between Sarkozy and his lawyer Thierry Herzog over other allegations into the financing of the former president’s 2007 campaign when they found evidence Sarkozy had offered the judge a bribe in exchange for information into an ongoing investigation.

The 2021 court case sentenced Herzog and Azibert to three years in prison, two suspended, as well as a three-year ban on practicing law.

Neither of them will have to go to jail.

The former conservative politician continues to enjoy broad support and has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

Following Wednesday’s ruling, his only remaining option is to challenge the ruling with the Supreme Court. Sarkozy has five days to file the appeal.

Sarkozy was also handed a one-year sentence in September 2021 over irregular financing of his 2012 presidential electoral campaign.

The former president also appealed the sentence and will be retired on appeal in November. Prosecutors have also called for Sarkozy to face a trial into allegations Libya illegally financed his 2007 presidential bid.EFE