Sarkozy being kept in ‘living hell’ over Libya accusations

Home / Sarkozy being kept in ‘living hell’ over Libya accusations

France’s ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy has dismissed accusations the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi funded his 2007 election campaign as a web of lies that were making his life a “living hell” and had cost him reelection in 2012.

The former leader of the centre-Right Republicans said there was “no physical evidence to prove the claims" that he had received £42 million in illegal funding from the Libyan regime. He was charged on Wednesday after two days of questioning in police custody.

He defended his innocence in a statement to investigating magistrates, a copy of which Le Figaro published in its entirety.

"I stand accused without any tangible evidence through comments made by Mr Gaddafi, his son, his nephew, his cousin, his spokesman, his former prime minister," said Mr Sarkozy.

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"I’ve been living the hell of this slander since March 11, 2011," when the allegations first emerged, said the ex-president, who was due to be interviewed live on a prime time news programme on Thursday evening.

Journalists and cameras stand outside the headquarters of the central office for the fight against corruption and financial and fiscal crime Credit:

Mr Sarkozy, 63, has been placed under what is known as formal investigation in France for passive corruption, illegal electoral campaign funding, and – most damning of all – concealing Libyan public funds.

He gave the Libyan leader a red-carpet reception in Paris in late 2007 but their relations soon soured and Mr Sarkozy put France in the forefront of the NATO-led airstrikes that helped rebel fighters topple the Gaddafi regime in 2011 and led to the dictator’s death.

In his court statement, Mr Sarkozy lashed out at Franco-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine, who claims to have delivered three cash-stuffed suitcases from Libya in 2006 and 2007, when Mr Sarkozy was preparing his first run for president.

Mr Takieddine, after Sarkozy was charged on Wednesday night, said: "I’m not the liar here."

Mr Sarkozy said he had “paid a heavy price for this affair.”

“Put it this way: I lost the presidential election of 2012 by 1.5 percentage points. The controversy initiated by Gaddafi and his henchmen cost me that 1.5 percent," he wrote.

Mr Sarkozy, who was nicknamed the "bling bling president" by many due to his flashy style, is not the first ex-head of state to be charged in France.

His predecessor Jacques Chirac was given a two-year suspended sentence in 2011 for embezzlement and misuse of public funds during his time as mayor of Paris.

Mr Sarkozy is already charged in two separate cases, one relating to overspending on his failed 2012 campaign and another for alleged influence peddling.

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