Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s former president, has been handed a year-long sentence after being found guilty of illegal campaign financing in the 2012 election.
But a judge at Paris’s Correctional Court said the 66-year-old, who held office from 2007 to 2012, does not have to go to jail and can serve his term from home by wearing an ankle bracelet.
Prosecutors had been asking for at least six months of actual jail time for Sarkozy, along with a six-month suspended sentence. His legal team have filed an appeal, which effectively suspends the sentence until their case is heard.
There was no immediate reaction from Carla Bruni, Sarkozy’s wife, who has staunchly defended him against corruption allegations in the past.
She was photographed on the catwalk at Paris Fashion Week on Wednesday night, seemingly unfazed by the impending verdict.
Thursday’s sentence comes six months after Sarkozy was handed another one-year jail term with two years suspended for trying to bribe a judge.
At the time, Bruni called the verdict ‘senseless harassment’ while vowing to fight on so ‘truth will see the light’.
Sarkozy’s legal team have also lodged an appeal in that case, meaning he remains a free man for the time being.
His legal woes are set to continue, however, with more corruption cases pending including allegations that he received millions in laundered money from former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
It is unlikely that Sarkozy will ever see the inside of a jail cell, but Bruni has alleged that was never the point of the allegations and believes her husband’s political opponents wanted to disqualify him from taking another run at the presidency.
‘They’re all lies, incredible lies. I’m so surprised it lasted,’ she told The Times in an interview earlier this year.
‘I’m so surprised it became so political, but they achieved their goal because he’s out of politics forever.’
In the campaign financing case, Sarkozy had been accused of spending almost double the £19.5million allotted for reelection campaigns under French law, during the 2012 reelection bid he lost to Francois Hollande.