Arms dealer at centre of Sarkozy Libyan funding claims arrested amid fears he was set to flee country

Ziad Takieddine, who was a key intermediary between Sarkozy's entourage and the regime of Colonel Gaddafi and an important figure in the alleged illegal funding of the 1995 presidential campaign of Sarkozy’s political mentor and former prime minister Edouard Balladour, has been detained by police who suspect he was preparing to quit the country. The Franco-Lebanese businessman, who is under formal judicial investigation and forbidden to leave France, is said to have paid 200,000 euros to secure a Dominican Republic diplomatic passport (see above). Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske, Michel Deléan and Albert Michel report.

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Franco-Lebanese arms dealer and businessman Ziad Takieddine, a key figure in two major political and financial scandals, has been arrested by French police officers who suspect he was planning to flee the country. Takieddine was arrested on Thursday morning by members of the national financial and tax investigation unit the Division nationale d’investigations financières et fiscales (Dniff).