Mr Sarkozy has denied having knowledge of any false invoicing and he has not been charged with any wrongdoing in this regard. Instead, the charges of illegal campaign finance only relate to overspending, for which he has already paid a fine.
During the trial, Mr Sarkozy rejected the prosecution’s description of a lavish campaign, suggesting that the fake invoices had instead been used to enrich Bygmalion – led at the time by close friends of Jean-François Cope, the president of Mr. Sarkozy’s party and one of the former leader’s political rivals.
Mr Sarkozy also claimed that in 2012 he had been extremely busy with his presidential duties and had barely been involved in campaign budgeting and logistics.
“I was president, leader of the Group of 20, and during the campaign, I led political strategy,” Sarkozy told the court in June. “The organization of the rallies, the sound system, the lighting, I had better things to do.
But prosecutors claimed that Sarkozy had neglected the warnings of his aides, especially on a profusion of campaign events, some of them costly and large-scale rallies. As a seasoned politician with years of experience, prosecutors argued, he could not have ignored signs that his campaign spending was getting out of hand.