A Paris court on Monday convicted French former President, Nicolas Sarkozy, for corruption and influence peddling, sentencing him to three years in prison.
President from 2007 to 2012, Mr Sarkozy, 66, was convicted of trying to bribe a magistrate in exchange for information about a legal case in which he was implicated, AFP said.
Two of the three years is suspended sentence, meaning he will not serve the term if he does not commit any new offense in the next five years.
He was sentenced over some wiretapped phone conversations that took place in February 2014 which himself and his longtime friend, Thierry Herzog, had with now-retired magistrate, Gilbert Azibert.
Prosecutors believed they promised Mr Azibert a job in Monaco in exchange for leaking information about another legal case involving Mr Sarkozy, AFP said, although no job was fulfilled.
But the court held that the promising to give a job alone was criminal under French laws as persecutors also discovered that Messrs Sarkozy and Herzog communicated via secret mobile phones registered to the alias “Paul Bismuth”
The trio were charged for the same offence and given the same sentence, according to AFP.
The sentence is open to appeal, and Mr Sarkozy will remain free while he appeals – his counsel has promised to appeal the judgment – or he can ask to serve the term at home with an electronic bracelet. But Mr Sarkozy’s legal troubles are far from over.
He is expected to face the Paris court again later this month over alleged suspicious spending of €42.8 million ($50.7 million) during his 2012 presidential campaign, which he lost to Socialist rival Francois Hollande.
He is also under investigation in another trial from 2013 where he is accused of taking millions from late Libyan dictator, Moammar Gadhafi, to allegedly finance his successful 2007 campaign.
Meanwhile, Mr Sarkozy’s sentence is the first time in France’s modern history that a former president has been convicted of corruption and given a prison term in what many believe is a dent to the political clout of Mr Sarkozy who withdrew from active politics after failing at his conservative party’s presidential primary in the 2017 election.
His predecessor, Jacques Chirac, who was found guilty in 2011 of misuse of public money during his time as Paris mayor, was given a two-year suspended prison sentence.