When Total paid the bill for the Elysée's secret emissary

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France-based businessman and arms dealer Ziad Takieddine is a key witness in an ongoing French judicial probe into suspected illegal party financing through commissions paid in a major French weapons sale to Pakistan. In a series of investigations that began in July, Mediapart has revealed how Takieddine has long served as a secret diplomatic and business emissary for the staff of Nicolas Sarkozy - before and after he became French president. Here, Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske unravel how Takieddine, backed by Sarkozy's Elysée Palace chief-of-staff, was paid almost 7 million euros by oil group Total in a gas field deal with the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

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According to confidential documents obtained by Mediapart, in the autumn of 2009, French oil giant Total paid Ziad Takkiedine 9.8 million dollars (6.9 million euros) on the sidelines of a gas contract agreed with the Libyan regime of Colonol Muammar Gaddafi. The payment was made in the utmost secrecy and under the supervision of Total's CEO Christophe de Margerie.