illegal funding

Charges and trial loom as Gaddafi-Sarkozy funding investigations draw to a close

France

Active investigations in a mammoth and unprecedented nine-year judicial probe into the suspected illegal funding of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign by the regime of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi drew to a close this month, leading to a second legal phase before charges are brought and a trial ordered. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske detail the principal conclusions of the investigations and the roles of the key suspects in this extraordinary and complex case.  

Exclusive: what Sarkozy told police under questioning about Gaddafi funding evidence

France — Investigation

Mediapart has obtained access to extracts of the transcripts of the questioning last week of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy by officers of France’s anti-corruption police agency, OCLCIFF, and also by the magistrates in charge of their investigation into the suspected financing of his 2007 presidential election campaign by the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. They reveal how Sarkozy, who after more than 30 hours of questioning was placed under investigation on March 21st for “illicit funding of an electoral campaign”, “receiving and embezzling public funds” from Libya, and “passive corruption”, was unable to provide convincing answers on a number of key questions, and how also he appeared to place responsibility for some of the most compromising evidence of collusion with Gaddafi’s regime on his close staff, including lifelong allies and friends Claude Guéant and Brice Hortefeux. Fabrice Arfi and Karle Laske report.

Sarkozy loses legal case against Mediapart over Libyan funding scandal document

International

Two French judges have found there are no grounds for challenging the authenticity of an official Libyan document revealed by Mediapart in 2012 and which declares that the Gaddafi regime had agreed to fund Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign to the sum of 50 million euros. The magistrates, in charge of an investigation prompted by a lawsuit launched by Sarkozy against Mediapart for “forgery” and “use of forgery”, have thrown out the case after years of thorough expert appraisals of the document and witness statements. Mediapart’s editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel details the judgment and the background to the case.

Graphologists confirm Gaddafi-Sarkozy illegal funding document is genuine

International — Investigation

Graphology experts assigned by a French judicial investigation to determine the authenticity of the signature on a document published by Mediapart detailing the Gaddafi regime’s approval of payment of 50 million euros to back Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential election campaign have unanimously concluded that it is indeed that of Moussa Koussa, head of the Libyan foreign intelligence services and later the dictator’s foreign affairs minister. The finding is a crucial new development in the investigation which has now gathered testimony from numerous experts backing the authenticity of the document. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

Gaddafi funding of Sarkozy campaign: the expert testimony that backs Mediapart evidence

International — Investigation

In April 2012, Mediapart published an official Libyan document that revealed that the regime of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi approved payment of 50 million euros to fund Nicolas Sarkozy's successful 2007 presidential election campaign. The publication of the document prompted the opening of a judicial investigation into the claims that Gaddafi illegally financed Sarkozy’s campaign, and the ongoing probe represents a major threat to the former president who this month announced his return to active politics. “About Libya, the judges know that the documents are false,” said Sarkozy in an interview published last weekend. But in fact, as Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report, the magistrates leading the investigation have collected statements from numerous experts whose testimony gives credence to the document published by Mediapart.

Another Gaddafi aide details Libyan funding of Sarkozy

International — Investigation

Mohammed Ismail (pictured), a former aide to Saïf al-Islam, the son of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, has confirmed claims that Gaddafi funded the 2007 election campaign of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Mediapart can reveal. “Part of the funds went through North Africa Commercial Bank in Beirut, and from there to a bank account in Germany affiliated with Ziad,” Ismail told Mediapart, referring to Ziad Takieddine, a Paris-based businessman and arms dealer who worked as a key advisor to Sarkozy’s aides in their dealings with the former Libyan regime. “Other parts were funnelled through bank accounts in Panama and Switzerland,” he added. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

Former Libyan PM confirms Gaddafi gave Sarkozy 50M euros for election campaign

International — Investigation

Former Libyan Prime Minister al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi has confirmed that the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi secretly provided 50 million euros for Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign. “We took part in Mr Sarkozy’s success and in the financing of his 2007 presidential campaign,” Mahmoudi said in an interview with Mediapart, conducted through his lawyer. "The figure of 50 million euros is correct.” Mahmoudi’s confirmation follows the publication by Mediapart of a December 2006 document, signed by the then head of Libya's foreign intelligence agency, Moussa Koussa, detailing how the Gaddafi regime agreed to “support the electoral campaign” of Sarkozy for the “sum of fifty million euros”, while the secret payments were to pass via the Libyan African Portfolio, a sovereign wealth investment fund. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.  

French government stalls Interpol call for arrest of Gaddafi funding chief

International

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his Prime Minister François Fillon were under increasing pressure Tuesday to explain the extraordinary protection they have afforded to a former senior Libyan official, Bashir Saleh, identified in a document published by Mediapart as a principal figure involved in the secret funding of Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign by the late dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Saleh is the subject of an Interpol request for his arrest for extradition to Libya where he is wanted on fraud charges. Despite the Interpol ‘red notice', Saleh continues to live comfortably in France where he was issued with a residency permit after fleeing Libya following the toppling of the Gaddafi regime. Sarkozy claims there is confusion over the identity of the fugitive, while Fillon said he was unaware of the Interpol notice, which is posted to the general public on its website. Louise Fessard and Carine Fouteau report.