France’s Sarkozy goes back on trial, this time for election spending

Paris: Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is on trial over accusations of illegal campaign financing starting on Wednesday, two weeks after he was sentenced on separate charges of bribery.

Sarkozy is accused of exceeding the legal threshold for campaign expenses by 20 million euros (23.8 million dollars) during his re-election campaign in 2012, dpanews reported.

An additional 13 people are also accused of fraud or aiding and abetting.

The so-called Bygmalion affair, after the name of a communications agency involved in the case, regards fake invoices issued to keep Sarkozy’s campaign expenses under the legal threshold of 22.5 million euros. A verdict is expected in mid-April.

According to media reports, the trial might however be delayed immediately after opening, as one of the defendants’ lawyers has fallen ill.

Sarkzoy, who ruled France between 2007 and 2012, is facing one year in prison and a fine of 3,750 euros.

At the beginning of the month, the former leader was already sentenced to three years in prison, two of them suspended, in a corruption case.

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