Arms dealer Takieddine: 'I gave suitcase of Libyan cash to Sarkozy'

By , and Nicolas Vescovacci,

In an interview filmed by Mediapart, arms dealer and business intermediary Ziad Takieddine has described how he brought three suitcases of cash from Libya to give to Nicolas Sarkozy and his top aide just before the former's successful presidential campaign in 2007. In a testimony that backs up claims that Sarkozy's campaign was part-funded by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's regime, the Franco-Lebanese businessman says: “I discovered things that should no longer stay hidden.” The revelations come as Nicolas Sarkozy makes an enforced exit from French politics after his humiliating defeat in last week's primary to choose the Right's 2017 presidential candidate. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Nicolas Vescovacci report.

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He mimes the scene at the same time as he speaks: “It's a suitcase like that. It opens like that. And the money is inside.” The man talking and miming is Ziad Takieddine, the Franco-Lebanese arms dealer and intermediary who first introduced Nicolas Sarkozy to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2005. For the first time, in a recorded interview with Mediapart and television news agency Premières Lignes, Takieddine has revealed how in late 2006 and early 2007 he personally handed three suitcases containing a total of 5 million euros from the Libyan regime to the then French interior minister Sarkozy and his chief of staff Claude Guéant.