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The story of the covert Libyan funding of Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign started two years earlier with a meeting between Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and the then presidential hopeful Sarkozy himself, Mediapart can reveal. According to arms dealer Ziad Takieddine, who was in Tripoli at the time, Sarkozy directly asked Gaddafi for financial help during an official visit to the North African country in October 2005. A short time later Sarkozy's close political friend and ally Brice Hortefeux made a visit to Tripoli in which he had an off-diary meeting with Gadaffi's security chief Abdullah Senussi, a key figure in the corruption allegations involving Libya and France. Judges investigating the Libyan funding of Sarkozy's campaign are now painstakingly piecing together the background to the affair. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.
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