Nicolas Sarkozy has been sentenced by a French court to three years in jail, two of them suspended, for corruption.
The former French president was convicted of trying to bribe a judge in 2014 – after he had left office – by suggesting he could secure a prestigious job for him in return for information about a separate case.
Nicolas Sarkozy is the first former French president to get a custodial sentence.
His lawyer says he will appeal.
The 66-year-old conservative politician will remain free during that process which could take years.
In the ruling, Judge Christine Mée said Nicolas Sarkozy “knew what [he] was doing was wrong”, adding that his actions and those of his lawyer had given the public “a very bad image of justice”.
The crimes were specified as influence-peddling and violation of professional secrecy.
It is a legal landmark for post-war France. The only precedent was the trial of Nicolas Sarkozy’s predecessor Jacques Chirac, who got a two-year suspended sentence in 2011 for having arranged bogus jobs at Paris City Hall for allies when he was Paris mayor. Chirac died in 2019.
If Nicolas Sarkozy’s appeal is unsuccessful, he could serve a year at home with an electronic tag, rather than go to prison.
The former president’s wife, supermodel and singer Carla Bruni, reacted by describing the case as “senseless persecution”, adding that “the fight continued, and truth would come out”.
Nicolas Sarkozy served one five-year term as president from 2007. He adopted tough anti-immigration policies and sought to reform France’s economy during a presidency overshadowed by the global financial crisis.
Critics nicknamed him “bling-bling”, seeing his leadership style as too brash, celebrity-driven and hyperactive for a role steeped in tradition and grandeur.
Nicolas Sarkozy’s celebrity image was reinforced by his marriage to Carla Bruni in 2008. In 2012, he lost his re-election bid to Socialist François Hollande.
Since then he has been targeted by several criminal investigations.
In 2017, Nicolas Sarkozy tried to make a political comeback, but failed as his centre-right Les Républicains party chose another presidential candidate instead.
He was on trial with two co-defendants, his lawyer Thierry Herzog and Gilbert Azibert, a senior judge.
The case centered on phone conversations between Nicolas Sarkozy and Thierry Herzog that were taped by police in 2014.
Investigators were looking into claims that the former president had accepted illicit payments from the L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt for his 2007 presidential campaign.
The prosecution convinced the court that Nicolas Sarkozy and Thierry Herzog had sought to bribe Gilbert Azibert with a prestigious job in Monaco in return for information about that investigation.
French media reported that Nicolas Sarkozy was heard telling Thierry Herzog: “I’ll get him promoted, I’ll help him.”
The phone line police tapped was a secret number set up in a fictional name, Paul Bismuth, through which Nicolas Sarkozy communicated with his lawyer.
On March 1, Thierry Herzog and Gilbert Azibert were also sentenced to three years in jail, two of them suspended.
French news website Atlantico has been ordered by a Paris court to remove the recordings of secretly taped conversations of Nicolas Sarkozy during his time as president.
Judges also sentenced Nicolas Sarkozy’s former aide, Patrick Buisson, to pay damages for making the recordings, some of which involved the former president’s wife Carla Bruni.
Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni took legal action after the audio appeared on Atlantico‘s website.
The website said it already taken down files featuring Carla Bruni because she was not a politician.
The so-called Sarkoleaks scandal, which broke in early March, caused turmoil in Nicolas Sarkozy’s party, the opposition centre-right UMP.
Although embarrassing, the transcripts were mostly harmless and contained no political bombshells.
Patrick Buisson has been ordered to pay damages for making the recordings involving Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni
On Friday, the court in Paris ordered Atlantico to immediately remove the files or face daily fines.
The court also ordered Patrick Buisson, 64, to pay 10,000 euros ($13,900) in damages to Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni. Lawyers for the couple welcomed the ruling.
A highly controversial figure whose political origins lie on the far-right, Patrick Buisson was credited with engineering Nicolas Sarkozy’s election win seven years ago by pushing him to toughen his stance on immigration and crime, correspondents say.
At the trial, it emerged that Patrick Buisson had recorded hundreds of hours of conversations, using a dictaphone kept in his pocket, during Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007-2012 term.
Patrick Buisson’s lawyer argued in court the tapes had been made to help him to keep a proper record of all discussions with Nicolas Sarkozy and other officials.
In the recordings, Nicolas Sarkozy is heard discussing confidential affairs of state but also sharing private chats with his wife, Carla Bruni.
At one point, Carla Bruni jokes about having to put her modeling career on hold while she was first lady.
“I thought I was marrying a guy with a salary,” she is heard saying.
“I had big contracts and now nothing.”
The leaks also contain excerpts in which top officials boast of their influence over Nicolas Sarkozy and express scorn over his wife’s presence at meetings at the Elysee.
Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni are to launch legal action after secret recordings of them were leaked online.
Lawyers for Nicolas Sarkozy say France’s former president and first lady will file a request for an injunction to prevent more from being published.
They say the recordings were made by a former aide, Patrick Buisson, without the couple’s knowledge.
Though embarrassing, the transcripts are unlikely to cause political damage, correspondents say.
Nicolas Sarkozy was said to be furious after it emerged that Patrick Buisson had recorded hundreds of hours of meetings and private conversations during his 2007-2012 term as French president.
Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni are to launch legal action after secret recordings of them were leaked online
In a statement, Patrick Buisson’s lawyer confirmed that the tapes had been made but claimed they had been done to help him to keep a proper record of all discussions with Nicolas Sarkozy and other officials.
Most of the recordings were destroyed and those that have been made public must have been stolen, the lawyer added.
Some of the recordings were published by satirical magazine Le Canard Enchaine and website Atlantico on Wednesday.
The initial revelations contain excerpts in which top officials express scorn over the presence of Nicolas Sarkozy’s wife at meetings at the Elysee.
They also suggest that Carla Bruni-Sarkozy was unhappy she had lost income when she married Nicolas Sarkozy, and hoped to boost her finances by advertising anti-ageing products.
Nicolas Sarkozy himself is shown to have been dismissive, even mocking, of the capacities of some of his ministers.
Emmanuelle Seigner, wife of controversial film director Roman Polanski, has claimed that she has been criticized by other Frenchwomen because of her “success, beauty and money”.
Roman Polanski is notorious as a fugitive from justice in the US over the r**e of a 13-year-old girl.
However, Emmanuelle Seigner, 46, has suggested that the main reason she has faced attacks from her fellow Frenchwomen was their jealousy of her “success, beauty and money”.
The actress and pop singer said she could not explain the chemistry between herself and the 79-year-old Oscar-winning director but admitted she liked the “danger” and unpredictability of not fitting the mould of a perfect relationship.
Emmanuelle Seigner, who is a close friend of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the former French first lady, has said: “In France, I guess there’s something like a tyranny in mentalities – we accept success badly, beauty, money.”
“People are certainly envious, and this creates negative energy. This is annoying. I suffered a great deal at one time. I had to fight harder than others. Add to that my marriage to Polanski.”
Emmanuelle Seigner was asked about what generated the romantic spark between her and Roman Polanski, whom she married in 1989.
Emmanuelle Seigner, wife of Roman Polanski, claims Frenchwomen are jealous of her success and beauty
“I don’t know. I ignore the ingredients. I guess that would be love. This can’t be explained,” she told Madame Figaro magazine.
“Perhaps because there’s an age difference – the improbable side that makes it probable. There are relationships where everything works and looks perfect, and that doesn’t interest me.
“I don’t like the idea of fitting into a mould, so as to conform. What I like is the danger, the difference – being unpredictable.”
Emmanuelle Seigner met Roman Polanski while appearing in one of his films, Frantic, in 1988, alongside Harrison Ford, but is now mainly known for her work inside France. The pair live in central Paris with their two children, Morgane and Elvis.
Roman Polanski was charged in 1977 with six crimes related to the s***al assault of a teenager during a photo shoot in Los Angeles but fled America, meaning all the charges are still pending.
He was arrested in Switzerland in 2009 at the request of the US authorities, who wanted to extradite him to face trial.
Following a period of prison, and then house arrest, Switzerland let Roman Polanski go, but he is now unlikely ever to leave France again in case he is re-arrested.
Like Carlo Bruni–Sarkozy, who is the third wife of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Emmanuelle Seigner has received a great deal of publicity through her relationship with a world-famous husband.
Frenchwomen are often lauded for their fashion sense, slender figures and perfectly behaved children, but critics have suggested they can be jealous, snobbish and sometimes even hostile.
A new website launched to help British women living in France fit in advises them to turn up late, brush up on current affairs and learn to accept compliments without treating them as a chat-up line.
Carla Bruni-Sarkozy will start singing live again and is planning to release a new album of songs in the autumn, her promoter confirmed today.
There are even rumors of France’s outgoing First Lady starring in a new biopic about her family history.
News of Carla Bruni’s desire to revive her showbiz career came as her husband, Nicolas Sarkozy, was pictured at his first public engagement since losing the French presidential election.
Nicolas Sarkozy, 57, announced his retirement from politics after Sunday’s election defeat, which made him the first French head of state to be rejected after just one term for 31 years.
In the event, the vote was closer than many had predicted, and Nicolas Sarkozy has insisted his loss was not humiliating.
Despite claiming he “loves life too much to be bitter”, however, Nicolas Sarkozy appeared visibly tense today while accompanying Francois Hollande to a ceremony marking the 67th anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.
The former rivals laid a wreath at the tomb of the untold soldier, beneath the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
Despite winning their bitter contest, Francois Hollande looked almost as strained as the outgoing president.
Nicolas Sarkozy is facing an uncertain future – his poor English means he is unlikely to be able to make money on the lucrative US lecture circuit, and he has ruled out any return to politics.
Carla Bruni will start singing live again after Nicolas Sarkozy lost presidential election
Veronique Rampazza, spokeswoman for Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, said: “Carla did not put her career on hold during Nicolas Sarkozy’s five years in office. She continues to compose.
“What she gave up for practical reasons was her public concerts, which she is now able to start again.”
Carla Bruni, 44, has a recording studio in her Paris townhouse and will release her new album in time for Christmas.
She is hoping to repeat the success of Quelqu’un m’a dit (Somebody Told Me), which came out 10 years ago, and sold around 2 million copies, mostly in France.
While critics praised the charming, folksy effort, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy’s later albums, No Promises and Comme si de rien n’était (As If Nothing Had Happened), were less well received.
After her marriage to Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008 following a whirlwind romance of just 80 days, Carla Bruni was never out of the limelight.
There were cover photo shoots for glossy magazines like Vanity Fair and Vogue – including a controversial one on the roof of the Elysee Palace – and she took a role in the Woody Allen film Midnight in Paris.
Carla Bruni-Sarkozy’s actress sister, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, is producing a movie about the history of their multi-millionaire family, and the outgoing first lady may play herself.
In an interview in 2008 Nicolas Sarkozy said he would “start to make money” when he quit frontline politics.
This has led to speculation that he will follow the lead of his friend Tony Blair and try and establish himself as a multi-millionaire lecturer and international trouble shooter.
Nicolas Sarkozy’s problem in this respect is that he speaks poor English, and would struggle to impress backers in the United States, where political celebrities like Tony Blair and former American president Bill Clinton can earn up to $400,000 plus expenses per talk.
Nicolas Sarkozy is unlikely to return to his first career as a lawyer, either, but thanks to his Italian-born wife’s $30 million plus personal fortune he does not need to work again.
What it certain is that Nicolas Sarkozy will have a lot more time to spend with the couple’s seven month old baby daughter, Giulia.
Carla Bruni looked almost unrecognizable yesterday as she voted in the French presidential elections alongside with her husband President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Just before exit polls predicted that Nicolas Sarkozy would suffer a humiliating defeat, Carla Bruni, 44, ticked her ballot paper close to her home in Paris’s 16th arrondissement.
Many suggested that too much Botox and other surgical procedures had transformed Carla Bruni’s fresh good-looks into something a lot stranger.
“She looks like the Bride of Wildenstein,” said one onlooker, referring to former millionaire art dealer’s wife Jocelyn Wildenstein who severely altered her face through cosmetic procedures intended to make her look younger.
“Carla is barely recognizable as the glamorous young woman who married Sarkozy in 2008. She looks extremely tired and as if she’s been trying too hard to hold back the years.”
Carla Bruni looked almost unrecognizable yesterday as she voted in the French presidential elections
In January, it was claimed a leading American dermatologist said Carla Bruni has had so much Botox she “looks like a chipmunk”.
Los Angeles skin expert Dr. Ben Behnam launched the astonishing personal attack after seeing photos of the former supermodel.
Dr. Ben Benham said: “Carla is over Botoxed. She’s had way too much done.
“That’s why she has the surprised look on her face and looks like a chipmunk.”
Carla Bruni had had a “lateral brow lift” and fillers in her cheeks, Dr. Ben Benham said.
He added: “She looks like she’s had Radiesse, which is a filler for wrinkle reduction. But her results do not look natural.
“A lot of celebrities these days look the same. They all have the puffy cheeks and cat like eyes.
“What they should do is just do a little bit so it just makes them look like a younger version of themselves rather than a 50-year-old trying to look 25.
“A good treatment to get is Sculptra because it looks more natural and can make patients look pretty and attractive rather than that ridiculous fake look.”
Carla Bruni has been the focus of intense French media attention and a raft of unflattering photographs since marrying French president Nicolas Sarkozy four years ago.
She gave birth to their first baby, a daughter named Giulia, late last year.
Carla Bruni, France First Lady has given birth to a baby girl this evening at Muette Clinic in Paris.
According to sources, President Nicolas Sarkozy spent half an hour with his wife Carla Bruni shortly after she delivered their first child together.
Carla Bruni and Nicolas Sarkozy insisted that the happy event should remain a “private matter” and no official announcement will be made by the Elysee Palace.
Carla Bruni, France First Lady has given birth to a baby girl this evening at Muette Clinic in Paris
Carla Bruni, 43, who already has a son from a previous relation, has even claimed that that her second child will never be pictured.
President Nicolas Sarkozy, 56, paid the 30-minute visit to his third wife at the clinic before heading off to a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Frankfurt.
On arrival in Germany Nicolas Sarkozy refused to respond to any questions about his fourth child.
Carla Bruni becomes the only serving First Lady in French history to have a baby.
France First Lady was seen arriving at the private Muette Clinic early in the morning.
One member of the private clinic staff confirmed later: “She’s had the baby, it’s a little girl.”
By Wednesday evening, leading French TV stations, including France 24, which is funded by Nicolas Sarkozy’s government, were reporting that “numerous sources” inside the clinic had confirmed the birth.
“Speculation is rife that France’s First Lady may have given birth,” said presenter Francois Picard.
Jeremy Trottin, of BFMTV, another non-stop Paris news channel, said: “There are reports that Ms Bruni-Sarkozy’s gynaecologist has already delivered the baby.”
Le Figaro reported earlier on Wednesday that Carla Bruni had gone into labour.
Police and plain-clothes security agents surrounded the clinic in Paris’ 16th arrondissement, close to Carla Bruni’s town house next to the Bois de Boulogne.
President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived with presidential aids for his visit shortly after 4:00 p.m., local time, and half-an-hour later headed off to Germany looking impassive.
Carla Bruni has a 10-year-old son, Aurelien, with a former lover, the philosopher, Rafael Enthoven.
Nicolas Sarkozy has two sons, 26-year-old Pierre and Jean, 25, from his first marriage to Marie-Dominique Culioli, and a third, 14-year-old Louis, from his second to Cecilia Ciganer-Albeniz.
Carla Bruni says she is desperate to give birth, but the French First Lady has confessed that her urgency is not driven simply by the desire to see her baby, she is also desperate to start drinking and smoking again.
The 43 year-old former model, admitted that, after nearly eight months of carrying her first child with President Nicolas Sarkozy, she is “totally fed up”.
“Quite frankly, I can’t stand it anymore. I spend most of my time either sitting down or lying down. I can’t drink or smoke any more. I’m in a hurry to get it over with.”
Carla Bruni is due to give birth in 6 weeks, but she is desperate to smoke
The baby, who is due in six weeks, will be Carla Bruni’s second child. Shealready has a son, Aurelien, born in 2001, with ex-boyfriend Raphael Enthoven.
“The baby will be viable at any time from October 1,”Carla Bruni told French newspaper Le Parisien.
“Aurelien arrived on time, which means this could be a long wait, but I really do want this child so much.”
Friends of Carla Bruni told the newspaper that because she was having a baby after the age of 40, her doctors had urged lots of “rest and clean-living”.
Carla Bruni has also insisted she will not release photos of the new baby, saying it’s “a totally private event”.
However, another news magazine, Marianne, suggested the birth was ideally timed for President Nicolas Sarkozy’s re-election campaign next year, describing the baby as the “perfect marketing tool” for him.
“Politically speaking, the timing of this pregnancy is perfect. It is a <<marketing-baby>> that will be born just before the last months of presidential campaigning really get going.”
Carla Bruni smoking during her activity as model
Carla Bruni and the 55 year-old France president, Nicolas Sarkozy, met on a blind date at a Paris dinner party in November 2007.
Bruni and Sarkozy married just three months later at a private ceremony in the Elysee Palace on February 2, 2008.
Nicolas Sarkozy already has three children of his own – two sons, Pierre, 25, and Jean, 23, from his first marriage to Marie-Dominique Culioli, and a 13-year-old son Louis from his second marriage to Cecilia Ciganer-Albeniz, who he divorced in 2007 before he met Carla Bruni.
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