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Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy found guilty in corruption case

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Nicolas Sarkozy was the President of France from 2007 to 2012. (file)

Paris:

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was found by a Paris court on Thursday guilty of illegal campaign funding after he failed to run for re-election in 2012.

It was the second guilty verdict this year for Sarkozy, who led France from 2007 to 2012 and maintained influence among conservatives despite falling from grace over his legal woes.

The court was yet to say what punishment he would receive.

Prosecutors were seeking a one-year prison sentence for the 66-year-old former president, half of which was suspended. In no case is he likely to go to jail immediately as he would be expected to appeal against the sentence.

Prosecutors said his conservative party allowed around 22.5 million euros (currently $19.2 million) on extravagant campaign rallies under electoral law and then hired a friendly public relations agency to cover up the costs.

Sarkozy has denied wrongdoing. He told the court in June that he was not involved in the logistics of his campaign for a second term as president nor how the money was spent during the election.

But the court said that Sarkozy had been made aware of the excess expense, that he had not acted on it, and that it was not necessary that each person’s expense should be attributed.

In a separate trial in March, Sarkozy was found guilty of bribing a judge to obtain confidential information on a judicial inquiry and of trying to influence. He also denied any wrongdoing in the matter.

The former president was sentenced to three years in prison at that trial – two of which were suspended – but has not actually spent time in prison yet, pending his appeal.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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