FORMER PRESIDENT SARKOZY IN HOT WATERS OVER ALLEGED ACCEPTANCE OF ILLEGAL CAMPAIGN FUNDS BY LATE GADDAFI




Hatim Khan – 21.03.2018- Nicolas Sarkozy, the ex-President of France has found himself in hot waters once again over corruption charges.

Sarkozy, the President of France from 2007 till 2012 has already been summoned to stand trial for a separate case which is often referred to as the “Bygmalion affair”. It is believed that Sarkozy used fraudulent means to conceal his 2012 failed Presidential campaigns 18.5m over spending through fake invoices.

This time, Sarkozy has been detained over alleged illegal acceptance of funds from the late Libyan leader Gaddafi and others in Libya for his Presidential campaign in 2007, through which he came in to office. He was first questioned on Tuesday by investigators specializing in money laundering, corruption and tax evasion. Sarkozy was allowed to go home at midnight on Tuesday but returned to police custody at 8 am on Wednesday. It is said that there are three ways this case can proceed; Sarkozy may be further questioned while in custody, released from custody or may be brought in front of a Judge to face the potential charges.

In 2012, Mediapart had published alleged official documents that showed the sign of a senior Libyan official approving 50m to aid Sarkozy's 2007 Presidential campaign. Despite constant refusal and denial from Sarkozy, a French court declared that some of the documents were indeed authentic. This, along with the testimony of Ziad Takieddine to Mediapart in 2016, a wealthy French-Lebanese business man who said that he had personally taken multiple trips from Tripoli to Paris and hand delivered briefcases full of millions of euros to officials from Sarkozy's campaign, tilts the case against Sarkozy. Takieddine  also stated that he received this money personally from Gaddafi's military intelligence chief.

The inquiry into the alleged illegal funds from Libya was first opened back in 2013 but this is the first time the former President has ever been questioned by the Police. Sarkozy's lawyers have so far refused to comment about the ongoing questioning of the former President by investigators. It is believed that the outcome of the investigations and the direction of the ongoing case will be revealed in the following couple of days.

It should be noted that Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi had accused of Sarkozy of accepting funds from Libya for his campaign back in 2011, however Sarkozy had denied any such relationship with the Libyan regime and said that these accusations are being thrown at him because of his decision to participate in the US-led military campaign that resulted in the fall of Gaddafi's regime and brought an end to his 41 years rule of Libya.