Sarkozy in police custody over poll campaign funding

Pauline Gross
March 21, 2018

French authorities have detained former president Nicolas Sarkozy to question him regarding allegations of illegal campaign funding from the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, BBC reported Tuesday.

The suspicions behind this case first emerged in 2012, when the investigative news website Mediapart published a report suggesting that Mr. Sarkozy's 2007 campaign had received up to 50 million euros, or almost $62 million at current exchange rates, from the regime of Colonel Qaddafi, the longtime Libyan strongman who was killed in 2011.

France opened a judicial inquiry in 2013 into allegations that Sarkozy's successful 2007 election bid benefited from illicit funds from Gaddafi.

In June 2016, French judges ruled that a document claiming Sarkozy was offered 50 million euros ($56.8 million) as an election campaign donation by Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi was authentic.

Sarkozy's custody could be heard over such affairs for 48 hours, and he risks to be convicted after the questioning, according to the report.

Sarkozy is facing a separate case for concealing election over-expenditure in his failed 2012 campaign.

In 2012, Mediapart, a French investigative news outlet, published a report suggesting that Sarkozy's campaign had taken more than $60 million from Gadhafi's government.

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Alleged payments would also violate French laws on foreign financing and declaring the source of campaign funds.

Mr Takieddine claims he delivered three suitcases stuffed with cash to Paris between 2006 and 2007, and handed them over to Mr Sarkozy in the interior ministry when he was a minister.

Mr Sarkozy was quizzed by police at the Nanterre police station, west of Paris, a person with direct knowledge of the case told the Associated Press.

A lawyer for Sarkozy could not immediately be reached for comment.

His son, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, told euronews in 2011 that "Sarkozy has to give back the money he accepted from Libya to finance his electoral campaign".

But Sarkozy then put France in the forefront of Nato-led airstrikes against Gaddafi's troops that helped rebel fighters topple his regime in 2011.

Other reports by GizPress

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