Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy proclaimed his innocence this Friday, after the Court of Appeal confirmed on Wednesday his sentence to three years in prison, one in prison with an electronic bracelet and two exempt from compliance, for “corruption and influence peddling” in the so-called wiretapping case or ‘Bismuth case’.
Sarkozy, 68, will appeal to the Supreme Court, so the sentence is suspended and he should not, for the moment, go to prison or wear an electronic bracelet.
“I am a fighter, the truth will end up triumphing,” said the conservative politician in an interview with the newspaper ‘Le Figaro’. The former president is convinced that he has embarked on “a long-term fight” to prove not only his innocence, but to defend fundamental principles of democracy that, according to him, have been trampled on in this case to “build at all costs a guilt”, such as the confidentiality of conversations between a lawyer and his client and the impartiality of Justice.
Sarkozy, who was president of France between 2007 and 2012, denounces that some magistrates “are in political combat.” «I have always assumed my legal obligations, I have always respected the institution and I have never asked for the slightest favor, but I will not let myself be condemned, since I am perfectly innocent of the nonsense and mountains that have been built against me. The fight will be long and I will go to the end», he announces.
The former president considers that the case of wiretapping is “factually false, legally illegal and morally preposterous.” In his opinion, they falsely accuse him of having made a “corruption pact” with former French magistrate Gilbert Azibert, with whom he claims he has not spoken or had any financial or other compensation.
He also remembers being reproached for having helped Azibert get a prestigious post on the Monaco Council of State, which he ultimately did not get. The French politician denies having intervened in any operation of this type and denounces that the entire case is based on pieces of telephone conversations that he had with the lawyer and great friend of his, Thierry Herzog, which must be confidential since he is the client of he.
The former conservative leader also proclaims his innocence in the case of the alleged Libyan financing of his 2007 presidential campaign, which took him to the Elysée Palace. The National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) asked last week to prosecute the former president and 12 other people for this case. However, according to him, during the investigation “not a single cent” of the Libyan money that they allegedly gave him to finance his campaign has been found, nor has it been shown that he has enriched himself. He also recalled that the alleged key witness, Libyan businessman Ziad Takieddine, has changed his version “seven times” about his accusations.
Sarkozy has one more pending case before the French Justice. The former president will be tried again in October by the Court of Appeal for another matter of alleged illegal financing of his 2012 presidential campaign, a judicial matter known in France as the ‘Bygmalion case’.
Sarkozy is the first former French president to be sentenced to a final prison sentence. His mentor and predecessor in the position, Jacques Chirac, was sentenced in 2011 to two years in prison with a suspended sentence for embezzlement in a case of fictitious jobs when he was mayor of Paris.
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