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Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy set to appear in court on Monday

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy arrives at his trial on corruption charges at Paris' courthouse on November 26, 2020.   -  
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BERTRAND GUAY/AFP or licensors

France

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy goes on trial on Monday

This is the second time the trial are set to begin after the November 23 session was postponed. One of the three defendants, the former high magistrate Gilbert Azibert, had requested for a postponement, citing his fragile health in the relation to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic.

The court rejected his request last Thursday. Gilbert Azibert should therefore appear in person for the hearing today. This marks another fresh attempt to kick start these proceedings.

Nicolas Sarkozy faces a ten-year prison sentence and a million euros fine for corruption and influence peddling, like his co-defendants who were already tried in addition for violation of professional secrecy.

The former French president together with his lawyer Thierry Herzog are suspected of having, tried to bribe Gilbert Azibert, who was then in charge of Cassation Court. It is alleged that Nicolas Sarkozy and Thierry Herzog used a false identification as Paul Bismuth, who happens to be a former high school friend to the lawyer.

According to the prosecution, Nicolas Sarkozy was seeking to obtain classified information to influence proceedings before the high court related to the Bettencourt case - in which he had obtained a dismissal at the end of 2013.

In return, he would have given Gilbert Azibert a "boost" for a prestigious position in Monaco, a position he never obtained.

Investigators had from 2013 been wiretapping conversations between Sarkozy and his lawyer Thierry Herzog as they delved into allegations of Libyan financing in Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign.

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