French court convicts former top Sarkozy aide in poll fraud

Paris — A French court on Friday sentenced former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to two temporary aides in prison for their role in the misuse of public funds to fund opinion voting contracts.

Five of Sarkozy’s former aides and allies since the presidency of 2007-2012 have been favored, conspired, and misused by public funds over the awarding of € 7.5 million ($ 8.5 million) worth of contracts. Was tried on charges of.

Sarkozy himself, who had the president’s immunity in this particular case, was not directly involved and sparred with the judge as to whether he could be forced to testify.

On Friday, the court favorably convicted his former Chief of Staff, Claude Nghe, and sentenced the Supreme Chief of Staff to eight months in prison. According to court documents, consultant Patrick Buisson was sentenced to two years in prison and a fine of € 150,000 for misuse of public funds.

They denied cheating.

Nghe An’s lawyer told BFM TV that he would appeal the verdict.

Prosecutors said Sarkozy’s contract signed during his 2007-2012 term was secretly sealed, non-competitive, and violated French law on finances requiring transparency and competitive bidding. rice field.

Among the other convicted people were Emmanuelle Mignon, a former head of Sarkozy’s private office, and Pierre Giacometti, a former polling expert and consultant.

Sarkozy lost the president’s immunity a month after his resignation and was subsequently faced with investigations into corruption, fraud, favors, and alleged campaign finance fraud.

Sarkozy, who remains an influential figure in French politics, was convicted last year for illegal election funding and selection of influence.