1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
Rule of LawFrance

France: Court upholds Nicolas Sarkozy corruption conviction

May 17, 2023

The former French president has lost his appeal against a corruption conviction and three-year prison sentence, but can wear a tag instead of going to jail.

Nicolas Sarkozy sitting with arms and hands folded
Investigators initially wiretapped Sarkozy's phone to inquire about his 2007 presidential campaign but then discovered his offers of help for the magistrate Image: Vincent Isore/IP3press/IMAGO

A Paris court on Wednesday denied an appeal by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to overturn his corruption conviction.

The court upheld a ban on him serving in public office and a prison sentence, but ruled he must wear an electronic tag instead of going to jail.

Sarkozy's lawyer said he will now take the case to the Supreme Court.

"We will take his all the way. We are just at the beginning of the process," adding "Nicolas Sarkozy is innocent," Jacqueline Laffont told reporters.

What was Sarkozy's conviction?

Sarkozy was convicted in 2021 for corruption and influence peddling

While the court sentenced the former leader to three years in jail, it suspended two of those years and said Sarkozy could serve the remaining term by wearing an electronic bracelet.

He was convicted of bribing a judge in exchange for information about a probe into alleged financial impropriety in his party.

He did so by offering to help judge Gilbert Azibert secure a well-paid legal adviser role in the principality of Monaco.

The case for the prosecution rested on conversations between Sarkozy and his former lawyer, Thierry Herzog.

The case is known as the "wiretapping case" in France because investigators tapped phone calls between the president and Herzog in 2013 and 2014.

Sarkozy's legal woes 

The former president has been dogged by legal probes since leaving office in 2012.

Just last week, the French national financial prosecutor's office, after a decadelong investigation, said it was going to seek a trial on charges that his 2007 presidential campaign received millions in illegal financing from the government of late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Sarkozy will also be retried on appeal from November 2023 in the so-called Bygmalion case, which saw him sentenced to one year in prison at first instance.

The prosecution accused Sarkozy's team of spending nearly double the legal limit on his lavish 2012 re-election campaign, using false billing from a public relations firm called Bygmalion. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Sarkozy is only the second president in France's modern history to be convicted of a crime, but the first to receive a prison sentence. 

Still, the conservative politician enjoys support from the French right and maintains considerable influence.

rm/rt (AFP, dpa)