Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy sits on the defendant’s dock again as of this Wednesday to stand trial for alleged illegal financing of his 2012 campaign in the so-called ‘Bygmalion case’. If Sarkozy is found guilty, he could be sentenced to a year in jail and a 3,745 euro fine.
In addition to Sarkozy, another 13 people will be played. Among them, those responsible for his presidential campaign in 2012; the leaders of Bygmalion, the communication company in charge of organizing their rallies, and former leaders of the conservative Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party, today called Los Republicanos.
The trial, however, could be postponed, as the lawyer for Jérôme Lavrilleux, former deputy director of Sarkozy’s 2012 presidential campaign, is admitted to the hospital with Covid-19. Lavrilleux, now retired from politics, was the one who denounced in 2014 the system of double accounting and false invoices to hide the exorbitant expenses of the electoral campaign.
Sarkozy, president of France between 2007 and 2012, will be tried for allegedly having exceeded the maximum spending limit allowed during a presidential campaign, which in 2012 was 22.5 million euros in the second round. The ex-president spent 42.8 million euros, almost double what was allowed, despite the alerts from the accountants. It is estimated that the fraud would be about 18 million euros.
The criminal process, which is scheduled to end on April 15, must determine whether Sarkozy, who signed the electoral campaign accounts, was aware of this system of double accounting and false invoices. The French politician, who was running for reelection at the time and lost, denies it.
The ‘Bygmalion case’ could reopen the old wounds on the country’s right wing, which after the outbreak of the scandal was immersed in a three-way fratricidal war – Sarkozy, Jean-François Copé and François Fillon – for taking control of the party and from which he has not yet recovered.
Almost nine years after leaving the Elysee Palace after being defeated at the polls by the socialist François Hollande, Sarkozy, 66, remains a benchmark for the French right, despite his problems with justice.
The former president has already been sentenced, on March 1, to three years in prison, one of them in firm prison and two exempt from compliance, for “corruption and influence peddling” in the so-called ‘wiretapping case’ or ‘ Bismuth case ‘. In the sentence, which Sarkozy has appealed, it is contemplated that the year of firm prison can be served under house arrest with electronic control.
The former president has also been charged in another case for the alleged Libyan financing of his electoral campaign with which he won the 2007 presidential elections.
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