France’s former President Nicolas Sarkozy took more than €50 million from the late Libyan leader, Muammar Qaddafi, a French judge has been told, a report on Thursday revealed.
Lebanese-born businessman, Ziad Takieddine told an investigative judge that he has “written proof” that transfers from Qaddafi and one of his sons to Sarkozy exceeded €50m in illegal payments, British newspaper the Independent reported.
The transfers helped prop up Sarkozy’s first presidential campaign in 2006-7, which was “abundantly” financed by Tripoli and continued until just before the downfall of the Libyan regime, which was partly pushed by French and British airstrikes in 2011.
According to the Independent, sources close to Takieddine rebuffed the allegations as “outrageous” and “self-interested.”
When similar allegations arose in April 2012, Sarkozy’s then campaign spokeswoman Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet Saturday dismissed the latest report as “ridiculous” and a “clumsy diversion” orchestrated by Hollande’s camp.
In an email to AFP news agency she said Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign funds had been cleared by the Constitutional Council after the elections with no queries.
The 2006 document in Arabic, which website Mediapart said was signed by Qaddafi’s Foreign Intelligence Chief Mussa Kussa, referred to an “agreement in principle to support the campaign for the candidate for the presidential elections, Nicolas Sarkozy, for a sum equivalent to 50 million Euros.”
The left-wing investigative website made similar assertions on March 12, based on testimony by a former doctor of a French arms dealer alleged to have arranged the campaign donation, which Sarkozy slammed as “grotesque.”
Takieddine, who is at the center of the latest claims, “has been a fixer for legal - and allegedly illegal - dealings between France and the Middle East for 20 years,” reported the Independent.
But he, himself, is under formal investigation “for allegedly organizing and receiving illegal kick-backs on arms deals over two decades,” the newspaper added.
In comments made to newspaper Le Parisien, he said his allegations against Sarkozy were part of a proposed trade-off with the French judicial system, in that a deal would include an investigation into French politicians financed by Libya.
Source: Al Arabiya; The Independent; Le Parisien
Caption: Sarkozy and Qaddafi pictured in Paris in 2007. (Reuters)