Nicolas Sarkozy is a French politician who has a net worth of $12 million. He is probably best known for serving as the President of France from 2007 until 2012, when he was defeated by Socialist candidate François Hollande. He then spent several years in the political world before ultimately retiring from public life. However, he could not escape the limelight completely, as he later faced numerous corruption charges from French prosecutors. In 2021, he was convicted of corruption and sentenced to prison.
Outside of his activities in France, Sarkozy also served as the Co-Prince of Andorra. Nicolas started working his way up the French political ladder in the 80s, during which he served as Minister of the Budget. He then served as Minister of the Interior and Minister of Finances before becoming leader of the Union for a Popular Movement. After narrowly defeating Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal in 2007 and becoming the French President, Sarkozy immediately faced the financial crisis of 2007-2008. His presidency was also defined by the Arab Spring and the Russo-Georgian War.
Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa was born on January 28th of 1955 in Paris, France. Raised in a family with Greek Jewish and Hungarian roots, Nicolas enjoyed a comfortable upbringing due to his father's immense wealth. He grew up in a mansion owned by his maternal grandmother before relocating to Neuilly-sur-Seine, which is one of the wealthiest suburbs of Paris. Nicolas later stated that his father was mostly preoccupied with his advertising agency, and as a result, his grandfather had a much greater influence on his worldview. This led to Sarkozy experiencing a Catholic, heavily Gaullist upbringing.
During his younger years, Nicolas felt humiliated and inferior due to his small stature compared to his classmates. In addition, he felt inferior due to the fact that many of his classmates came from wealthier families. He attended some of the most elite private schools in France, establishing a reputation as a thoroughly mediocre student.
After leaving secondary school, Sarkozy enrolled at Université Paris X Nanterre, where he earned an M.A. in private law. He later continued his education and earned a D.E.A. degree in business law. Despite the school's reputation as a stronghold for leftist ideologies, Nicolas joined right-wing organizations within his university. He later completed his military service. After graduating from Université Paris X Nanterre, he attended Sciences Po but failed to graduate due to his substandard English skills. However, he did manage to pass the bar, and he spent the next few years specializing in practice areas such as business litigation and family law. One of his most famous clients was former Italian politician Silvio Berlusconi.
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Sarkozy started off as a city councilor at the age of 23. He represented a Neo-Gaullist party called RPR, and soon enough he was mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine. At this point, he was the youngest mayor of any town in France that had a population of over 50,000. An early exploit during this period saw Nicolas negotiating with a bomber who had taken several children hostage. During this time, he also became Minister for the Budget. In 2002, he was appointed the Minister of Interior by then-president Jacques Chirac. By 2004, he had become Finance Minister. Later that year, he became the leader of the UMP.
By 2007, Nicolas was ready to run for president. Despite being accused of being too brutal and "hard-line" by his rivals, Sarkozy won the election in 2007. This sparked a number of protests in Paris. During his time as president, Sarkozy successfully negotiated the release of hostages taken by a left-wing guerilla group in Columbia. He was also known for his green policy, his less stringent economic policy, an updated security policy for the digital world, and much more. He also became closely involved in the military action that took place in Libya. Although Sarkozy ran for president again in 2012, he lost to Hollande.
Nicolas Sarkozy has been involved in a number of corruption controversies over the years, and most of these stem from his time as President. It was noted that one of his very first actions as President was to increase his annual pay from about 100,000 euros to 240,000 euros. In his defense, he stated that this more closely matched the salary of various other leaders in Europe.
In 2009, an early allegation of corruption arose when it become clear that he helped his son become the head of the public body that ran France's biggest district EPAD. In 2010, the Bettencourt affair led directly to allegations by a former accountant of a billionaire Liliane Bettencourt, who stated that Sarkozy had received illegal cash campaign donations. In 2014, he was brought in for questioning by the police, who investigated whether he had promised a "prestigious role in Monaco" to a high-ranking judge. Nicolas had allegedly done this to receive information about his own investigation on illegal campaign funding. After 15 hours of questioning, Nicolas and his lawyer became the subjects of an official corruption investigation.
In 2016, he was officially indicted on charges related to "illegal financing of a political campaign." These charges related to alleged overspending on a 2012 presidential campaign. In 2020, his trial officially began. He was accused of influence peddling, corruption, and attempting to bribe a judge. In 2021, he was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to three years in prison. Two years were to be served as a suspended sentence, while the third was to be served in prison. Sarkozy immediately appealed the decision.
Also in 2021, a separate trial for Sarkozy began for a different count of corruption. This related to the alleged diversion of tens of millions of euros that were supposed to be spent on his 2012 re-election campaign.
In addition, Sarkozy was also heavily scrutinized for his involvement with Muammar Gaddafi, the former leader of Lybia. Gaddafi allegedly donated 50 million euros to Nicolas' presidential campaign in 2007 in exchange for favors and access. Shortly after he was elected, Sarkozy sold Lybia a number of aircraft, including several fighter jets and military helicopters. France and Lybia then signed a nuclear cooperation agreement.
Nicolas married his first wife, Marie-Dominique Culioli, in 1982. They stayed together for several years, having two songs together before divorcing in 1996. As early as 1988, former fashion model Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz had divorced her own husband to pursue a relationship with Sarkozy. Ciganer-Albéniz and Sarkozy married shortly after he had divorced his first wife. They had one son together in 1997 before rumors began to spread in 2005 that Cécilia had left Nicolas. During this period, rumors also suggested that Sarkozy was having an affair with another woman, reported to be a journalist. By 2007, he had divorced his second wife shortly after being elected as President.
A very short time after his separation from his second wife, he started dating Italian singer and model Carla Bruni. By 2008, they were wed. Over the course of their relationship, Bruni and Sarkozy had one child together.