Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy goes on trial Monday for attempted bribery of a judge, being the modern French Head of State to face corruption charges.
Sarkozy is the first to face corruption charges fought furiously for six years to have the case thrown out, denouncing “a scandal that will go down in history.
Prosecutors say Sarkozy promised the judge a plush job in Monaco in exchange for inside information on an inquiry into claims that Sarkozy accepted illicit payments from L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt for his 2007 presidential campaign.
Their case rests in large part on wiretaps of phone conversations between Sarkozy and his longtime lawyer Thierry Herzog, which judges authorised as prosecutors also looked into suspected Libyan financing of Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign.
That inquiry is still underway, though Sarkozy caught a break this month when his main accuser, the French-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine, suddenly retracted his claim of having delivered millions of euros in cash from Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi.
Charged with bribery and influence peddling, Sarkozy risks a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a maximum fine of one million euros.