How Gaddafi's banker in Sarkozy funding allegations was smuggled out of France

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In April 2012, Mediapart revealed a document recovered from the archives of the toppled regime of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi detailing its agreement to fund Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign. The letter, signed by Gaddafi’s intelligence chief Moussa Koussa, was addressed to Bashir Saleh, head of the regime’s multi-billion-dollar Libyan African Portfolio investment fund. Following the collapse of the Gaddafi regime, Saleh found asylum in France. But after Mediapart’s report, and while he was the object of an Interpol ‘wanted’ for his arrest and extradition back to Libya where he faced fraud charges, Saleh subsequently fled to South Africa. Mediapart can reveal how French magistrates have established that Saleh’s last-minute flight on May 3rd 2012 was organised by Alexandre Djouhri, a businessman close to Sarkozy’s longstanding chief of staff Claude Guéant. But also present when the two men met in the shadows of the Eiffel Tower in the early evening of that same day was Sarkozy’s domestic intelligence chief, Bernard Squarcini. Karl Laske and Fabrice Arfi report.

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A French judicial investigation has established the circumstances in which a leading official in the regime of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, and who is regarded as a key witness in the probe into the suspected secret funding by the regime of Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign, was smuggled out of France in May 2012 with the help of a businessman close to Sarkozy’s long-serving chief of staff, and subsequently interior minister, Claude Guéant.