Nicolas Sarkozy, 62, will stand trial on charges for 2012 illegal campaign financing, AFP reported on Tuesday.
If convicted, the former President faces one year in prison. Only two former French Presidents have been convicted: Jacques Chirac in 2011, for misuse of public funds to hire political friends and Marshal Petain in 1945. Conservative Presidential aspirant, Francois Fillon, is also facing an inquiry for misuse of public funds to hire his wife and children.
The former President is facing the so-called “Bygmalion affair.” Bygmallion is a PR company that invoiced many of the 2012 campaign expenses for President Sarkozy. The former President is facing the allegations along with 13 co-defendants.
The prosecution believes Sarkozy exceeded the spending ceiling of €22.5 million for the 2012 campaign he lost. Bygmalion allegedly charged the party, rather than the campaign, €18.5 million. Company executives acknowledge there is fraud, but Sarkozy sustains he was unaware of the campaign’s finances.
Mr. Sarkozy is nicknamed the “bling-bling” President for his flashy display of wealth.