“Sarkozy has to give back the money he accepted from Libya to finance his electoral campaign. We financed his campaign and we have the proof… The first thing we’re demanding is that this clown gives back the money to the Libyan people.”
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi — March 2011
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy is being held in police custody over campaign financing. In 2013, France opened an investigation into allegations that his campaign had benefited from illicit funds from Gaddafi. Mr Sarkozy’s former ministers and a close ally, Brice Hortefeux, are also being questioned by police. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today
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The investigations relates to alleged Libyan funding for his 2007 campaign, Le Monde newspaper reported.
Sarkozy is said to have accepted €50m from Gaddafi’s regime. These claims have been repeated by Saif al-Islam Gaddafi — the late Libyan dictator’s son — and French businessman Ziad Takieddine.
In September 2017, I wrote: “One should — of course — be very suspicious of such stories. However, in this particular case, I have a strong feeling that there is some truth to it.” Obviously, I am not the only one to think so.
Mr Sarkozy is being held at Nanterre, near Paris, in an unprecedented step against a former president.
Investigators are trying to find out whether Mr Sarkozy — who was president from 2007 to 2012 — had promised a prestigious role in Monaco to a high-ranking judge, Gilbert Azibert, in exchange for information about an investigation into alleged illegal campaign funding.
A diary of Shukri Ghanem — Head of the Libyan government (2003-2006) and minister of oil (2006-2011) — contains records relating to a series of payments to the 2007 campaign of then-President Nicolas Sarkozy.
A former aide, Alexandre Djouhri, is fighting extradition to France after being arrested in London in January on suspicion of money laundering as part of the case.
So is Mr Sarkozy being prosecuted? The investigation has not reached that stage yet. “Garde à vue” – custody – means he can be held and questioned by police for up to 48 hours. Then he may appear before a judge and may face charges. [BBC]
For the record — In connection with his 2007 campaign, Mr Sarkozy was cleared over claims that he had used secret funding from L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt and that he had tried to influence investigating magistrates.
Perhaps, this story is just a reminder: “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy is taken into custody
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy Arrested Over Gaddafi Campaign Financing