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Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy will know, Thursday morning, the verdict of the Paris Criminal Court in the Bygmalion case, relating to excessive election expenses. The prosecution requested against him a year in prison, including six months suspended.
After being sentenced to prison in the so-called “eavesdropping” affair, the time for judgment has sounded again for Nicolas Sarkozy, this time in the Bygmalion case. The Paris Criminal Court renders, Thursday, September 30 at 10 a.m., its decision in the case of the excessive spending of its 2012 presidential campaign, almost twice their legal ceiling.
After five weeks of hearing in May-June, the prosecution requested against Nicolas Sarkozy a year in prison, including six months suspended.
During the campaign for his re-election as head of state in 2012, Nicolas Sarkozy was a “flippant candidate”, asking for “one meeting a day”, “American shows” and let spending slip away. ‘worry about it, had supported the prosecution in its indictment in two voices.
>> To read: Bygmalion: the other case which pursues Nicolas Sarkozy
Unlike his thirteen co-defendants (former executives of the campaign and the UMP – now Les Républicains – as well as of the Bygmalion company, which organized the meetings) Nicolas Sarkozy is not blamed for the imagined double billing system to hide the explosion in authorized campaign spending.
He was only tried for “illegal campaign financing”. He faces one year’s imprisonment and a fine of 3,750 euros.
But he “undoubtedly” benefited from the fraud, having resources far greater than those allowed by law – at least 42.8 million in total, nearly double the legal ceiling at the time.
His casually castigated
During the trial, Nicolas Sarkozy had denied everything altogether. “A fable!”, He had carried away at the bar.
“Where is the campaign that is racing? Where is the campaign in solid gold?”, He had also chanted, taking everyone to part.
“There were fake invoices and fictitious agreements, it is true.” But “the money was not in my campaign, otherwise it would have been seen”, had hammered the former head of state, estimating that Bygmalion – founded by very close to his rival Jean-François Cope – s ‘was “gorged” on his campaign.
His defense had pleaded for release. “He did not sign any estimate, he did not sign any invoice, he accepted all the restrictions that were asked of him. He is far from being a hysterical, insatiable candidate”, had put forward his lawyer Me Gesche Le Fur.
Unlike his co-defendants present every day, Nicolas Sarkozy had only come to the hearing for his questioning. A way of placing oneself “above the fray” which had ulcerated the floor.
The “total casualness” of one who “visibly regrets nothing” is “like the casualness in his campaign,” had launched the prosecutor Vanessa Perrée.
Up to 4 years in prison
Revealed two years after the defeat of Mr. Sarkozy, the scandal had led to serial political blasts on the right.
Only four defendants – three former Bygmalion executives and the former deputy campaign manager of president-candidate Jérôme Lavrilleux – partially acknowledged their responsibility.
Against the latter – the only one in the UMP to have partially admitted the fraud, in particular in a surprising televised confession in 2014 – the public prosecutor requested three years in prison and a 50,000 euros fine. Jérôme Lavrilleux will be present at the hearing to hear the judgment, according to his lawyer.
Sentences ranging from eighteen months to four years in prison suspended and fines of up to 150,000 euros have been requested against the others.
“There are fourteen defendants and almost as many versions.” Most “saw nothing, knew nothing, heard nothing, they were victims of manipulation or served as fuses”, had mocked the prosecution in its indictment, for whom their guilt “leaves no doubt”.
A central question, however, will remain unanswered, admitted prosecutor Vanessa Perrée. “Who ordered the system? We don’t have enough evidence to prove it.”