Prosecutors also recommended De Villepin pay a $70,000 fine for complicity to slander, complicity to use forgeries, dealing in stolen property and breach of trust.

Fake list

The complex case centres on a fake list of account holders from the Clearstream financial clearing house who were said to have received kickbacks from the sale of French warships to Taiwan.

Sarkozy's name was on the list and the French leader, one of 39 civil plaintiffs, alleges the scandal was made up to tarnish him ahead of his party's nomination for the 2007 presidential vote, which he won.

A three-year jail sentence, with 18 months suspended, was requested for co-defendant Jean-Louis Gergorin, a former aerospace executive who leaked the bogus list.

Prosecutors want a two-year sentence with six months suspended for Imad Lahoud, the mathematician who admitted to adding Sarkozy's name to the list.

They asked for Denis Robert, a journalist, to be acquitted and for Florian Bourges, an accountant, to receive a four-month suspended sentence.

The trial lasted for a month and produced 40 volumes of written evidence, mostly providing contradictory versions of events.