How Sarkozy helped key figure in election funding scandal flee Libya

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Declassified reports from France's foreign intelligence service show how Nicolas Sarkozy when president helped a senior figure in the Gaddafi regime escape from war-torn Libya in 2011, Mediapart can reveal. They show that Muammar Gaddafi's ex-chief of staff Bashir Saleh was taken to France in November 2011 with the aid of the French presidency and businessman Alexandre Djouhri. However, Saleh later fled France after Mediapart published details of a letter addressed to him outlining the Gaddafi regime's agreement to fund Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

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It has remained one of the great secrets of the Libyan war of 2011. How exactly had one of the key figures in the toppled Gaddafi regime, Bashir Saleh, managed to defect and escape to France from the North African country in the midst of a bloody and chaotic revolution?

Mediapart can now reveal that Saleh, once Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's chief of staff and head of the the regime's multi-billion dollar Libyan African Portfolio (LAP), was extracted from war-torn Libya in November 2011 with the aid of President Nicolas Sarkozy and the well-connected French businessman Alexandre Djouhri.