Libyan funding: new evidence against Sarkozy

Libyan funding: new evidence against Sarkozy

From Tripoli to Paris, new investigative elements reinforce suspicions of Libyan financing of Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign – which the former French leader denies – as additional testimony from former guards closer to Muammar Gaddafi.

In 2013, a judicial investigation was opened in France, a thick jigsaw puzzle in which Nicolas Sarkozy is charged with four crimes and denies every allegation.

At the same time, a Libyan investigation has made it possible for several relatives of the leader, who was killed in 2011, to mention the money paid in recent years without providing material evidence. A suitcase with cash, according to former Prime Minister Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi (2006 to 2011); a payment of seven million euros, according to the former head of military intelligence and Gaddafi’s brother-in-law, Abdallah Senoussi.

At the beginning of June, the French investigating judge Aude Buresi, an investigator from Oclciff (Central Office for Combating Corruption, Financial and Tax Crimes) and a prosecutor from the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office traveled to Libya.

Muammar Gaddafi’s last prime minister, Baghdadi al-Mahmudi, speaks to journalists during a visit to his prison organized by Tripoli authorities July 3, 2012 (AFP/Archives – MAHMUD TURKIA)

According to elements of the investigation of which AFP was aware and recently revealed by Mediapart, a Tripoli prosecutor confirmed to them Libya’s desire to file a civil lawsuit in France, summarizing the latest witness testimonies, which he says are “very variable, because some people fear being prosecuted in Libya for embezzling public funds”.

– A visit in 2005 –

Major novelty, the first-ever hearing of former financier Bachir Saleh, who has been portrayed by other Libyans as central to this alleged funding, as manager of a sovereign wealth fund through which some of the payments would have flowed.

Ziad Takieddine arrives at the finance department of the Paris courthouse on December 7, 2016 (AFP/Archives - JACQUES DEMARTHON)
Ziad Takieddine arrives at the finance department of the Paris courthouse on December 7, 2016 (AFP/Archives – JACQUES DEMARTHON)

In the midst of the Libyan revolution, from Libya to France and in 2012, when power in France turned socialist, then exiled from France abroad, this 75-year-old man had swept away that “Franco-Franco salad” several times. However, a crew on the 2018 TV show Cash Investigation recorded him unbeknownst to saying he “believed” Abdallah Senoussi’s allegations of Libyan financing while absolving himself of any role.

Following these new elements, obtained at a hearing in Dubai in 2019, Mr Saleh again denied playing any role but claims for the first time “to have heard that Nicolas Sarkozy asked Muammar Gaddafi to assist him at his.” campaign to help.

The one who has been the subject of an international arrest warrant issued by French judges since 2018 was immediately softened: according to the Libyan prosecutor’s office, “he does not know how this aid was paid” and “does not know if any amounts were transferred to him there “.

Recently, in early 2021, Ahmed Ramadan, Gaddafi’s former private secretary, told the Libyan judiciary that during his famous visit as interior minister in 2005, Nicolas Sarkozy “asked Muammar Gaddafi to support him financially and morally for his next election campaign.” (Le Guide ) gave him his “approval” without mentioning the value of that support.

Categorically, the guide’s former confidante mentioned a sum that was then estimated at 7 million euros and dollars, authenticated by “receipts” and “evidence” that were not provided.

Muammar Gaddafi in front of his tent in the garden of his Bab al-Aziziya residence in Tripoli on April 10, 2011 (AFP/Archives - JOSEPH EID)
Muammar Gaddafi in front of his tent in the garden of his Bab al-Aziziya residence in Tripoli on April 10, 2011 (AFP/Archives – JOSEPH EID)

Another witness, however, was less clear on these allegations: Abdel Rahmane Chalgham, Gaddafi’s foreign minister between 2000 and 2009.

The man who defected during the Libyan uprising in early 2011 said in February 2018 he had never heard of any such funding except during a single undated discussion with the guide, during which Chalgham said Gaddafi wondered if money was actually there had been paid.

The French probe also recently recovered testimony from another close friend of Gaddafi, his ex-protocol chief Mabrouka Cherif, from 2019.

Like Ahmed Ramadan and other Libyan dignitaries, she said Nicolas Sarkozy “asked” Muammar Gaddafi during her visit in 2005 “to support him and help him with his election campaign”, in 2007 “to ask for her for “20 million”. “. 2010 extended again for “20 million euros”.

– agendas –

Thierry Gaubert in Paris on July 8, 2013 (AFP/Archives - KENZO TRIBOUILLARD)
Thierry Gaubert in Paris on July 8, 2013 (AFP/Archives – KENZO TRIBOUILLARD)

At the request of the investigating magistrates, French investigators also investigated the relationship between Nicolas Sarkozy and former senior civil servant Thierry Gaubert, who was indicted in January 2020 on suspicion of having touched funds of the Gaddafi regime through various banking transactions and the middleman Ziad Takieddine .

A few months later, Nicolas Sarkozy twice declared that he had not seen his former collaborator since 1996. But analysis of the latter’s diaries revealed “numerous elements confirming the continuation of relations” between the two “after 1995,” according to the Oclciff’s commander, who is investigating the files.

Cecilia Attias and her husband Richard Attias during the 1st edition of the Red Sea Film Festival in Jeddah, December 6, 2021 (Red Sea Film Festival/AFP/Archives - Ammar ABD RABBO)
Cecilia Attias and her husband Richard Attias during the 1st edition of the Red Sea Film Festival in Jeddah, December 6, 2021 (Red Sea Film Festival/AFP/Archives – Ammar ABD RABBO)

More anecdotally, the ex-wife of the head of state, Cécilia Attias, was also questioned at the beginning of June.

She presented Nicolas Sarkozy as an “honest man, deeply honest”, “a statesman”, while pointing out that he “fell off (his) chair more than once” upon discovering elements of this folder in the press. “Either I was very naive or I was very stupid, but for me it didn’t fit at all into the picture I had and what I experienced.”

Asked about these Libyan testimonies as well as these elements from the diaries, neither the entourage nor the lawyer of the ex-president, who is presumed innocent, answered AFP.

Reference: www.challenges.fr

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