Former French president Sarkozy to stand trial in October on corruption charges – court


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Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy will stand trial in October on corruption charges over allegations that he tried to obtain information about an investigation against him from a judge.

A Paris court decided on Wednesday that the former leader will stand trial from October 5 to 22, according to AFP. It will be the first trial in several graft cases against the 64-year-old, who will be the first ex-president of France to stand trial on corruption charges.

Sarkozy is suspected of attempting to obtain secret information from ex-high magistrate Gilbert Azibert in early 2014 through his lawyer Thierry Herzog. Herzog and Azibert will also stand trial.

The case focuses on conversations between Herzog and Azibert that were tapped by investigators probing claims that Sarkozy accepted illicit payments from the L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt for his 2007 presidential campaign.

Sarkozy, who was president from 2007 to 2012, fought to prevent the case from going to trial but his final appeal bid failed last June.

Since losing the presidency Sarkozy has faced a slew of corruption and campaign financing allegations.

In October 2019, a court ruled he must stand trial for illicit campaign financing. If found guilty he could face a one-year jail term and a fine.

Prosecutors in that case say the ex-president used fake invoices to spend nearly €43 million euros ($40 million) on his failed 2012 re-election bid – almost twice the legal limit.

Sarkozy has also been charged over accusations he accepted millions of euros in donations from late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. He denies all the allegations against him.