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Franco-Lebanese businessman detained by French police

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-05-31

French police on Thursday took Franco-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine into custody after he attempted to flee the country. Takieddine is suspected of involvement in several corruption scandals.

Police on Thursday detained a Franco-Lebanese businessman who is being probed in a high-profile political financing scandal over suspicions he was trying to flee France, a source close to the case said.

Ziad Takieddine, who is banned from leaving France as investigations into the so-called Karachi affair go on, allegedly paid 200,000 euros ($260,000) for a diplomatic passport from the Dominican Republic, the source said.

Two businessmen suspected of acting as intermediaries in the purchase of the passport were also taken in for questioning.

A businessman, an ex-president and Illicit funds?

Takieddine is embroiled in several scandals in France, some of which allegedly involve former President Nicolas Sarkozy and other high-profile politicians.

He has claimed he has proof Sarkozy received illicit funding from Libya's ex-dictator Moamer Kadhafi for his successful 2007 presidential campaign, and an official probe into the allegation has been opened.

The businessman is also being investigated for suspected money laundering after he was detained with 1.5 million euros in cash on a private flight out of Libya in March 2011, French judicial sources said late last year.

And he has been charged with corruption in a case centred on commissions he allegedly received in 1994 arms deals that could have been used illegally in ex-prime minister Edouard Balladur's presidential campaign the next year.

The so-called Karachi affair is a complicated plot including the 2002 killing of 14 people, among them 11 French engineers, in the Pakistani city of Karachi, and involves defense sales, kickback allegations and intermediaries reportedly channelling millions of dollars worth of cash. The ongoing scandal continually made headlines in France over the past few years and has embroiled former president Sarkozy, who was Balladur's campaign spokesman and budget minister at the time.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

FRANCE 24 INTERVIEW: ZIAD TAKIEDDINE

Date created : 2013-05-30

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