Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy on June 19 2019. Picture: AFP/LIONEL BONAVENTURE
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy on June 19 2019. Picture: AFP/LIONEL BONAVENTURE

Paris — Nicolas Sarkozy will, on October 5, become France’s first former president to stand trial on corruption charges in a case in which he is accused of trying to obtain classified information from a judge.

The trial will last until October 22, a Paris court has said.

This will be the first trial in several graft investigations against Sarkozy, who was president from 2007 to 2012.

Jacques Chirac, who died last September, was the first former president put on trial but not on corruption charges — he was found guilty in 2011 of embezzlement and misuse of public funds during his time as mayor of Paris.

Sarkozy stands accused of seeking to obtain, through his lawyer Thierry Herzog, classified information from then-judge Gilbert Azibert in 2014, about another investigation.

Last June, appeals judges rejected a challenge against the case filed by Sarkozy, Herzog and Azibert.

Since losing to the Socialist Party’s François Hollande and leaving office, Sarkozy has fought a barrage of corruption and campaign financing allegations, all of which he rejects.

Last October, a court ruled he must stand trial for illicit campaign financing — a charge for which he risks a one-year jail term and a fine.

In that case, prosecutors say Sarkozy spent nearly €43m on his failed 2012 re-election bid — almost double the legal limit of €22.5m — using fake invoices.

He has said he was unaware of the fraud by executives at the public relations firm Bygmalion, who are among 13 others being pursued in the case.

Sarkozy has also been charged over accusations he accepted millions of euros from the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi towards his first presidential campaign in 2007.

AFP