Several hours of indictment after almost a month of trial.
Six months in prison were required against Nicolas Sarkozy, tried before the Paris Criminal Court in the case of the excessive spending of the presidential campaign of the former head of state in 2012. From ten- eight-month to four-year suspended sentences were required against the 13 other defendants.
Throughout the debates, the former executives of the UMP (now Les Républicains) and Bygmalion, which organized its meetings, the campaign manager, the accountants, all sought to minimize their role, or even to deny it.
No, they did not implement the system of false invoices imagined to mask the explosion in campaign spending of the president running for reelection.
Revealed two years after the defeat of Mr. Sarkozy, the scandal had led to serial explosions on the right.
Absent from all hearings, the head of state only appeared in court for his questioning on Tuesday.
To read also Nicolas Sarkozy at the bar at the Bygmalion trial: "I dispute that this money was used to supplement my campaign"
Unlike the other defendants, all suspected of being involved to varying degrees in the fraud, Nicolas Sarkozy is only tried for "illegal financing of the electoral campaign".
He faces one year in prison and 3,750 euros in fines.
The other defendants, who appear in particular for "forgery, use of forgery", "swindle" and complicity in these offenses, incur up to five years of imprisonment.
Who gave the order for the fraud?
The investigation revealed that the real price of the 44 meetings organized by the event agency Bygmalion had been drastically reduced - 80% of the invoices have disappeared - and the rest paid by the UMP in the name of fictitious conventions of the party.
During the four weeks of hearing, the tribunal chaired by Caroline Viguier had less to establish the materiality of the facts than to try to identify the role of each.
A question, asked and answered, will probably remain unanswered: who gave the order for the fraud?
The investigation "did not establish" that Nicolas Sarkozy would have "ordered", that he would have "participated", or even that he would have been informed, according to the prosecution.
On the other hand, he "unquestionably" benefited from it, thus having "means far superior to those authorized by law".
The legal ceiling was exceeded by 22 million euros.
To read also Bygmalion trial: "It's a lot of millions, I have the approval and I sign", describes Fabienne Liadzé
A thesis vigorously contested by the Head of State during his four hours of questioning on Tuesday.
There was “no excitement” of his campaign, which looked “like a sister” to that of 2007, or even that of his opponent in the second round, François Hollande, hammered Mr. Sarkozy at the helm.
How could the 2012 campaign then have “cost double”, he chanted.
Three former Bygmalion executives described at the start of the trial how the UMP asked them to set up the system of false invoices.
At the party, only Jérôme Lavrilleux recognized its existence.
The campaign had become "a madness" of "total disorganization", said the latter at the bar.
“No matter what it cost, the important thing was to win.
We were all bathed in this atmosphere ”.