A judge in France has ordered the former French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, to stand trial on charges of corruption and influence-peddling, a French official said on Thursday. The charges against Sarkozy are related to allegations that he tried to illegally obtain confidential info from a magistrate judge several years ago.
The charges are just the latest legal challenge for Sarkozy. He had already been ordered to stand trial in another case regarding the financing of his 2012 presidential campaign.
Sarkozy is also under formal investigation for allegedly receiving funding from the Libyan government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi for his 2007 campaign. During the investigation, investigators discovered wiretaps of phone conversations between Sarkozy and his lawyer, Thierry Herzog. The wiretaps revealed that Sarkozy and Herzog had discussed ways of obtaining confidential information regarding the case on whether his 2007 campaign was being illegally funded. The case was being tried by France’s top appeals court, the Cour de cassation.
Prosecutors claim Sarkozy attempted to obtain the information from Gilbert Azibert, a magistrate at the appeals court at the time. He allegedly promised Azibert a promotion to a job in Monaco, albeit he never followed through on the offer.
Sarkozy has vehemently denied the accusations of corruption and influence-peddling, denouncing them as “crazy” and “monstrous” on primetime television. Sarkozy’s lawyers have commented that they would be appealing the court’s decision to send the case to trial.
Under French law, Sarkozy may face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of 1 million euros for the corruption charge, and up to five years and 500,000 euros for the influence-peddling charge.