Bygmalion: behind the “all guilty” of the criminal court, a ruthless observation on the excesses of the Sarkozy campaign of 2012 – Le Monde

Fifteen defendants, fifteen convictions and penalties greater than requisitions. Among the defendants, a President of the Republic in office and candidate for his re-election at the time of the facts, Nicolas Sarkozy, sentenced to the maximum penalty he incurred, one year firm, for exceeding the limit on election expenses. Mixed sentences – a firm part, a suspended part – accompanied for some of fines, prohibition of professional practice of two to five years and ineligibility of three to five years, pronounced against the thirteen other people declared guilty fraud or complicity, breach of trust or concealment, forgery, use or concealment of forgery, complicity in exceeding the ceiling of electoral expenses. A fine of 100,000 euros against the only legal person being prosecuted, the former company Event & Cie, a subsidiary of Bygmalion.

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The judgment rendered Thursday, September 30 by the Paris Criminal Court draws up a ruthless observation: in place of his own, each of the defendants contributed to the overrun of 20 million euros in the campaign costs of President candidate Nicolas Sarkozy in 2012, or double the authorized limit. By setting up, covering up, or taking advantage of the setting up of an illegal system of false invoicing, all have “Undermined confidence in the French electoral system” and the authority of the decisions of the supervisory bodies, “Whose existence and role are provided for by law or by the Constitution itself”.

Nicolas Sarkozy at the Paris Criminal Court, June 15, 2021.

This is the first time that a criminal court has ruled on the accounts of a presidential campaign. In this, the interest of the judgment rendered on September 30 goes beyond the campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy in 2012. Its motivation recalls a few simple principles.

Read also Update on the twelve Sarkozy cases: two convictions, two dismissals and several open cases
  • A campaign serves the interests of a candidate, who is accountable for his expenses

By attending only one day of hearing, that of his interrogation, Nicolas Sarkozy wanted to tell the court that this affair did not concern him, or only very far away. “Do I have political responsibility? Yes. Do I have any criminal liability? No. ”

The judgment answers him that all the offenses alleged against the defendants “Were committed, not during an electoral campaign, but for the benefit of the campaign of a President of the Republic in office, candidate for his own renewal”.

He adds : “Nicolas Sarkozy knew the amount of the legal ceiling for campaign spending and knew that the challenge was to avoid this ceiling being exceeded. It was not his first election campaign. His experience as a candidate and his knowledge of the rule of law had even allowed him to expressly warn those around him. He was warned in writing, on the one hand, of the risk of being exceeded and, on the other hand, of the actual exceeding of the legal limit, by two notes from the chartered accountants. ”

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