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Former French president Sarkozy in custody over Libya funding probe

Patrick Kovarik, AFP | Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy shakes hands with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi upon his arrival for an official visit to Libya on July 25, 2007.
2 min

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has been called in for questioning by investigators looking into suspected Libyan financing of his 2007 election campaign, an official in the French judiciary said Tuesday.


Libyan officials from the Gaddafi era have claimed they helped finance Sarkozy’s election campaign. An investigation into the case has been underway since 2013.

It is the first time Sarkozy has been questioned in the inquiry. The hearing comes several weeks after a former associate, Alexandre Djouhri, was arrested in London as part of the investigation and later released on bail.

Investigators are examining claims that Gaddafi's regime secretly gave Sarkozy 50 million euros overall for the 2007 campaign. Such a sum would be more than double the legal campaign funding limit at the time of 21 million euros.

In November 2016, French-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine said he delivered three suitcases from Libya, containing five million euros in cash, to Sarkozy and his former chief of staff and campaign director, Claude Guéant, between 2006 and 2007.

Sarkozy, who was president from 2007 to 2012, has always denied the allegations. A lawyer for the former French president could not be reached immediately for comment on Tuesday.

Sarkozy had a complex relationship with Gaddafi. Soon after his election to the presidency, Sarkozy invited the Libyan leader to France for a state visit and welcomed him with high honors. But Sarkozy then put France in the forefront of NATO-led airstrikes against Gaddafi's troops that helped rebel fighters topple his regime in 2011.


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