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Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy ‘jailed’ over illegally financing 2012 election campaign

Nicolas Sarkozy, 66, is unlikely to spend any time behind bars (Picture: AP)

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been handed a one year sentence after being found guilty of illegally financing his failed 2012 re-election bid.

But the 66-year-old defendant is unlikely to go to jail, as the judge said he could serve the term at home wearing an electronic ankle bracelet.

Prosecutors had been pushing for six months of actual prison time, along with a six month suspended sentence.

It was the second guilty verdict this year for Sarkozy, who led France from 2007 to 2012 and retains influence among conservatives, despite falling from grace over his legal problems.

He is the now the first French head of state in modern times to receive two prison sentences.

Sarkozy’s conservative party, Les Republicans, spent nearly double the 22.5million euros (currently £19.4million) allowed under electoral law on extravagant campaign rallies.

They then hired a friendly public relations agency to hide the cost as they campaigned against Francois Hollande, prosecutors said.

Sarkozy has denied wrongdoing and told the court in June that he had not been involved in the logistics of his campaign for a second term as president nor in how money was spent during the election run-up.

But the court said Sarkozy was made aware of the overspending, that he did not act on it, and that it was not necessary for him to approve each individual spending to be responsible.

The former leader refused to face the judge at Paris’s Correctional Court today, instead letting his legal team represent him, as he has done throughout the case.

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