Libyan funding of Sarkozy campaign: Takieddine retracts, the evidence remains

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Ziad Takieddine, the ruined businessman who is on the run after being convicted in a separate political corruption case in France, has told Paris Match magazine and BFM-TV news channel that there was “no Libyan funding” of Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign. This contradicts what he has previously told a judicial investigation into the affair and various media. But he maintains that he did hand over cash to Sarkozy's former chief of staff Claude Guéant. The former president himself immediately made clear his delight at Takieddine's retraction. Just a few days ago Sarkozy had described the middleman as a “madman” and a “manipulator”. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

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Sitting on a bench looking out over the sea near Beirut, his arms pressed close to his sides, the ruined businessman Ziad Takieddine, who is on the run after being jailed by a French court in the Karachi affair, has made a retraction. In a 30-second interview on news channel BFM-TV – probably the shortest the station has ever done - the middleman announced that the French justice system had made him say the exact opposite of what he was thinking or saying during the nearly eight years of the affair that involves claims of Libyan funding of Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign.