Former French president's right-hand man given jail sentence in cash trial

13th November 2015, Comments 0 comments

A close aide of French president Nicolas Sarkozy was given a two-year suspended jail sentence on Friday and fined 75,000 euros ($80,500) for his role in misusing public funds at the interior ministry.

Claude Gueant, who was Sarkozy's right-hand man for a decade and served as interior minister from 2011 to 2012, was also banned from public office for five years.

Michel Gaudin, a former national director general of the police, was given a 10-month suspended sentence by the court in Paris.

Three other members of Sarkozy's team were given short suspended jail terms and fined.

Gueant's lawyers have said they will appeal his conviction.

The case stretches back to between 2002 and 2004 when Gaudin made monthly payments to Gueant of 10,000 euros from an expense account for police investigations.

A total of 210,000 euros was handed out, with Gueant keeping half and the rest distributed among the co-accused.

The men viewed the money as a top-up of their salaries, the trial heard.

Sarkozy was president from 2007 to 2012 and has re-emerged on the political scene as a potential centre-right candidate for the 2017 presidential election.

© 2015 AFP

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