A French television programme is set to reveal a potentially damming audio recording in which the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi claims he helped bankroll former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential campaign.
In the recorded interview, which France 3 TV said it would broadcast on Wednesday, Gaddafi insults Sarkozy and says the decision to fund a French presidential election was part of his political strategy.
Asked whether he feels betrayed by France’s president, Gaddafi reportedly answers: “Sarkozy is mentally deficient… It’s thanks to me that he became president… We gave him the funds that allowed him to win.”
The interview by French journalist Delphine Minoui took place on March 16, 2011, a few days after Paris officially recognised the Libyan opposition. France would go on to provide military support that was instrumental in toppling the Libyan autocrat.
Gaddafi says Sarkozy came to ask him for financial support when he was France’s interior minister, but offers no details about the amount allegedly given or about financial transactions.
Sarkozy received Gaddafi at the Elysée Palace in December 2007, seven months after he was sworn in as France's president.
“For us, as Libyans, if the president of France wins elections thanks to our funds, it is a real advantage,” Gaddafi tells his interviewer.
Claims that Libyan cash secretly funded Sarkozy’s campaign have been made in the past, in particular by Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam. Sarkozy, along with a few members of Libya’s ousted regime, have denied the allegations.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2014-01-28