France's Sarkozy will stand trial over alleged Libyan campaign financing

  • World
  • Friday, 25 Aug 2023

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrives for his appeal trial on charges of corruption and influence peddling, at Paris courthouse, France, December 15, 2022. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) -Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy will stand trial in 2025 on charges of corruption and illegal financing related to alleged Libyan funding of his successful 2007 presidential bid, the financial prosecutor's office said on Friday.

Sarkozy, who remains an important figure in French politics although he no longer holds any elected post, has always denied the accusations. "There's not even the smallest inkling of proof," he said in an interview in 2018.

The conservative former president, in office from 2007 to 2012, could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted in the case. He is also fighting various other legal cases.

In this case, he will stand trial over charges of "concealment of embezzlement of public funds, passive corruption, illegal campaign financing and criminal conspiracy with a view to committing a crime punishable by 10 years in jail", the prosecutor's office said.

Among the 12 others facing trial in the case are Sarkozy's former right-hand man Claude Gueant, his then head of campaign financing Eric Woerth and former Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux.

An initial hearing is set for March 7, 2024, the prosecutor's office said, with the trial itself scheduled to take place between Jan.6, 2025 and April 10, 2025.

Sarkozy, 68, lost an appeal in May against a 2021 conviction for corruption and influence peddling. His legal team promised to challenge that at France's highest court.

Sarkozy's conservative predecessor, the late Jacques Chirac, was found guilty of corruption in 2011, four years after he left office.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Bertrand BouceyWriting by Dominique Vidalon and Ingrid MelanderEditing by Frances Kerry)

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