Suspended two-year jail term for Sarkozy interior minister Claude Guéant

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The long-time chief of staff to former president was also barred from public office for pocketing more than 200,000 euros from police funds.

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A man who served as chief of staff to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was sentenced to two years suspended jail and banned from holding public office for five years for pocketing money from a cash fund used for police investigations, reports Reuters.

Claude Guéant, at the time of the offense chief adviser to Sarkozy when the latter was interior minister, was found guilty of wrongdoing and also fined 75,000 euros ($80,775.00) by a Paris court.

Guéant, who went on to become a chief of staff to president Sarkozy and an interior minister himself, did not deny tapping into a special cash fund that was supposed to be for police work, but said he did not consider the acts illegal.

Guéant would appeal against the court verdict, his lawyer Philippe Bouchez El Ghozi said, adding: "I think this is severe and the questions we raised didn't get a response, in our view."

Guéant, who never held an elected post, was at the time (2002-04) cabinet chief to then interior minister Sarkozy.

He became Sarkozy's chief of staff when the latter was elected president in 2007 and became interior minister himself under Sarkozy in 2011.

Read more of this report by Reuters.

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