Gaddafi ‘gave Nicolas Sarkozy €50m for 2007 presidential campaign’
A French-Lebanese businessman has publicly repeated claims that the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi gave €50m (£43m) to fund Nicolas Sarkozy’s successful 2007 campaign for the French presidency, The Guardian reports.
In a film published on the investigative news website Mediapart, Ziad Takieddine, who introduced Sarkozy to Gaddafi, insists he handed over cases stuffed with cash to the former French leader and his chief of staff, Claude Guéant.
Acting out the scene, Takieddine says in the video: “It was a case like that. It opened like this. And the money was inside.”
He told Mediapart: “I have discovered things that should no longer be hidden. I wish to denounce the mafia state in which we are currently living.”
The allegations first emerged five years ago, but Takieddine’s claims are potentially damaging because they come days before Sarkozy seeks the presidential nomination of the centre-right Les Républicains party. The first round of the party’s primaries, in which Sarkozy is trailing Alain Juppé, the mayor of Bordeaux, will be held on Sunday.
Outside the pool of candidates on the right, Emmanuel Macron, a former economy minister under François Hollande, is expected to launch his presidential campaign on Wednesday.
Sarkozy and Guéant have repeatedly denied taking money from Gaddafi. Guéant told Mediapart: “I have never received cash from the Libyan government or any other for that matter. Nor did I see any handed over. To claim otherwise is false and defamatory.”
Sarkozy’s office made no comment about the allegations on Tuesday. In 2013, the French courts opened an inquiry into the suspected illegal financing of Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign with a view to possible charges for “active and passive corruption, misuse of power, forgery, abuse of public money, money laundering, and complicity in and concealment of these offences”.