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Mediapart Wed 27 Jul 2016 27/7/2016 Latest edition

Gaddafi funding of Sarkozy election campaign: the proof

April 28, 2012 | By Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske

Mediapart can reveal compelling new evidence that President Nicolas Sarkozy's successful 2007 election campaign was partly funded by former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. A document signed by a senior figure in Libya in 2006 and recently obtained by Mediapart states that the regime approved a payment of 50 million euros to back Sarkozy's campaign, following a meeting with one of his most trusted political allies. The explosive revelation is certain to fuel calls for a full-scale enquiry into the funding of the president's last election campaign. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

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Mediapart can reveal compelling new evidence that President Nicolas Sarkozy's successful 2007 election campaign was partly funded by former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. An official document written by a senior figure in Libya in 2006 and recently obtained by Mediapart states that the regime approved payment of 50 million euros to back Sarkozy's campaign.

In March this website revealed details of a document compiled by a French expert on terrorism outlining an operation in which the Tripoli regime apparently funnelled 50 million euros towards the current president's campaign. At the time this report was angrily denied by President Sarkozy.

The letter now in Mediapart's possession, which is reproduced and translated below, contains proof that the Libyans did indeed agree to provide financial support. This document, which managed to survive the bombing of Libya during last year's bloody overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi, is signed by the then head of Libya's foreign intelligence agency Moussa Koussa.

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The following is a translation of the letter:


The Glorious People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

“No democracy without a people's conference”

Date : 10. 12. 2006

Corresponding to : 10. 12. 1375

N° 1917 68 P

Foreign intelligence service

Brother/ President, Libyan African Investment Portfolio

Peace be with you

With reference to the instructions given by the liaison office of the General People's Committee concerning the approval of support for the electoral campaign of the candidate Monsieur Nicolas Sarkozy for the presidential elections, to the sum of fifty million euros.

We confirm to you the agreement in principle as to the subject cited above, having taken note of the minutes of the meeting held on 6.10.2006 at which were present from our side the director of Libyan intelligence services and the president of the Libyan African Investment Portfolio, and from the French side Monsieur Brice Hortefeux and Monsieur Ziad Takieddine, and during the course of which an agreement was concluded to determine the amount and method of payment.

Peace be with you, and the mercy of God and his blessings...

Moussa Imuhamad  Koussa

Head of the Foreign Intelligence Service

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Dated December 10th 2006, the letter says that the regime has agreed to “support the electoral campaign” of Nicolas Sarkozy for the 2007 presidential elections, and for the “sum of fifty million euros”. The letter also states that an agreement on “the amount and method of payment” had been reached at a meeting two months earlier involving Brice Hortefeux, a close ally of Nicolas Sarkozy and then minister for local government. This meeting was said to be in the presence of businessman Ziad Takieddine, who in 2005 had introduced the then interior minister Sarkozy and a key Sarkozy ally Claude Guéant – the current interior minister – to insiders in the Libyan regime.

For the Libyans, Gaddafi's chief of staff, Bashir Saleh, then president of the Libyan African Portfolio (LAP), one of the main investment arms of the regime, was in charge of supervising the payments.

Takieddine, a Franco-Lebanese businessmen currently implicated in an ongoing judicial investigation into suspected illegal political funding via commissions paid in French weapons sales abroad, told Mediapart in an interview that he was not present at the meeting indicated in the letter. However, in the interview on April 27th he said: “But it could certainly have taken place. Your document reflects an agreement signed by Moussa Koussa to support Nicolas Sarkozy's presidential campaign in 2007, and Brice Hortefeux was in fact there at that date, as at other times, that is certain. Monsieur Moussa Koussa and the other people named were indeed the intermediaries with France.”

Takieddine added:“This document proves that we are witnessing an affair of state, whether those 50 million euros were paid or not. The enquiry will be difficult because many of those involved were killed in the war in Libya, but already it is an important thing to make this document public.”

The evidence Mediapart publishes here confirms claims made by both Muammar Gaddafi and his son, Saïf al-Islam, plus the former head of the country's secret services Abdallah Senoussi, in Libya last year. Just two days before the NATO military intervention in Libya in March 2011, Saïf al-Islam made specific accusations in an interview with television channel Euronews.

Asked his opinion of President Sarkozy he answered: “Sarkozy must first give back the money he took from Libya to finance his electoral campaign. We funded it and we have all the details and are ready to reveal everything. The first thing we want this clown to do is to give the money back to the Libyan people. He was given assistance so that he could help them. But he’s disappointed us. Give us back our money. We have all the bank details and documents for the transfer operations and we will make everything public soon.”

According to people who knew the Libyan regime, and to whom Mediapart has shown this document, the letter published here is written in the normal style of its bureaucracy, including the fact that the second date under the Western one is not based on the usual Muslim calendar but is instead one imposed by the dictator, and is based on the date of the death of the Prophet Mohammed in 632.

Sarkozy's links with Libya

Sarkozy's links with the Libyan regime have already emerged from a judicial investigation into suspected illegal political funding via commissions paid in French weapons sales abroad.

The investigation, led by judges Renaud Van Ruymbeke and Roger Le Loire, centres on the sale by France of submarines to Pakistan and frigates to Saudi Arabia, mounted during the 1990s. The magistrates suspect that part of commissions paid to intermediaries in the deals were secretly re-routed to fund the 1995 presidential election campaign of former French Prime Minister Edouard Balladur. They have collected evidence indicating that these so called retro-commissions re-appeared as unaccountable cash sums drawn from Swiss bank accounts.

Nicolas Sarkozy served under Balladur as budget minister and was his presidential election campaign spokesman. Both he and Balladur have denied involvement in illegal funding of the campaign, which was led as a breakaway challenge against fellow conservative Right rival Jacques Chirac, whose campaign was backed by the majority RPR Gaullist party.

Last September, Balladur’s presidential election campaign director, Nicolas Bazire, and an advisor to Sarkozy at the budget ministry, Thierry Gaubert, both longstanding friends of Sarkozy, were placed under investigation, along with Takieddine, over their involvement in the suspected scam, which has become dubbed in France as the 'Karachi Affair' (for more on this, see Mediapart's Q&A guide here and a video presentation here).

Several years after the Balladur government-brokered arms deals, Takieddine again played a role as a key intermediary for weapons contracts mounted by Sarkozy’s inner political team, between 2002 and 2009, with several Arab countries, and notably Libya. (A list of links to Mediapart investigations into Takieddine’s role and relationships with Sarkozy’s entourage can be found at the end of this article on page 3).

The new revelation about the president's ties with Libya will strengthen calls for a judicial or parliamentary enquiry into the affair. Already following Mediapart’s revelations in March, Green party presidential candidate Eva Joly, a former investigating magistrate, demanded the opening of a judicial enquiry into the allegations.

However President Sarkozy, questioned on French television about the earlier reports, angrily dismissed them as “grotesque”. And on April 27th , Hortefeux told Mediapart that he “categorically denied” the claims of electoral funding by Libya. “I have only been to Libya once and that was in 2005,” he said.

Yet the Libyan letter backs claims made by Jean-Charles Brisard, a French expert on terrorism and terrorist financing, who this year told Mediapart how Brice Hortefeux, a longstanding close friend and political aide of the French president and who is now vice-president of France’s ruling UMP party, was the “front” in a financial network set up for the secret funding of Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign by the Gaddafi regime. The Swiss-based consultant said he had a file containing “precise amounts, names, countries and dates.”

Mediapart had access to the document written by Brisard, detailing the alleged operation in which the Tripoli regime funnelled 50 million euros towards Sarkozy’s campaign. Later Brisard turned on Mediapart, claiming he was the victim of a “crude manipulation”, but does not deny being the author of the document.

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For more about the issues raised in this article, Ziad Takieddine, and the political funding scandal behind the Karachi Affair, click on the links to Mediapart's investigations below:

Exclusive: secret report describes Gaddafi funding of Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign

Judges step up hunt for the phantom figure behind the Karachi Affair

'Everyone's in the merde': the secret cash funding scandal bringing down the house that Sarkozy built

The Sarkozy aide and his secretly-funded Colombian mansion

Exclusive: British witness in French funding scandal hits back at ‘protected’ arms dealer

The arms dealer and his 'friendly' services for UMP leader Copé

Judges step up hunt for the phantom figure behind the Karachi Affair

French IT group Bull horned by libyan internet espionage deal

French judge finds key evidence in illegal funding probe

British divorcee becomes key witness in French political funding scandal

Net closes in on French presidency after funding 'scam' arrests

Arms dealer probe brings illegal funding scandal closer to Sarkozy

The British thriller writer caught in the plot of the Karachi affair

The secret financier who brings danger to the Sarkozy clan

Sarkozy, the arms dealer, and a secret 350 million-euro commission

The well-connected arms dealer and his tax returns

How Sarkozy aides saved arms dealer from paradise island 'death blow'

Exclusive: how Sarkozy's team sought grace for Gaddafi's murderous henchman

The arms dealer and his Paris party for the glitterati

Exlusive: how President Sarkozy's team dealt with Gaddafi

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

How French intelligence shields the Sarkozy clan's unofficial emissary

Divorce court freezes arms broker's assets

The French-built stealth offroader that may be hiding Gaddafi

A Q&A guide to the Karachi affair

How the Karachi affair caught up with Nicolas Sarkozy

Senior French defence chief told of former PM's 'kickback scam'