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French ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy found guilty of illegal campaign financing

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Paris, Feb 15

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was found guilty of illegal campaign financing by a Paris appeal court which gave him a one-year prison sentence, half of which was suspended.

The court found that Sarkozy spent 42.8 million euros ($45.9 million) for his presidential campaign in 2012 while the maximum amount allowed in France at the time was 22.5 million euros, Xinhua news agency reported.

To conceal the massive overrun, a system of double invoicing had been set up, according to French press.

Sarkozy “undoubtedly benefited from frauds that gave him far greater means than those authorized by law” though “the investigation did not establish that he had ordered them, or that he had participated in them, or even that he had been informed of them,” reported the French daily newspaper Le Monde quoting the judge’s ruling.

Sarkozy will take the case to France’s highest court, his lawyer told reporters.

President from 2007 to 2012, Sarkozy faces multiple legal cases.

A trial will start in 2025 over allegations that he had accepted money from Libya to fund his 2007 campaign. In 2021, a court handed him a prison sentence of three years, including two suspended, for “corruption and influence peddling.” He denied any wrongdoing and the appeal court in 2023 upheld the original ruling. The case is already before the highest court.

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