Keyword: Muammar Gaddafi

Key Sarkozy allies admit their errors over secret meetings with Libyan terror chief

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Key Sarkozy allies: Claude Guéant and Brice Hortefeux, in February 2011, at the Ministry of the Interior in Paris. © LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP Key Sarkozy allies: Claude Guéant and Brice Hortefeux, in February 2011, at the Ministry of the Interior in Paris. © LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP

Two of former president Nicolas Sarkozy's closest allies, Brice Hortefeux and Claude Guéant, have recently been placed under formal investigation for “criminal conspiracy” over claims that the ex-head of state's 2007 election was part-funded by the Libyan regime. Mediapart can now reveal that during questioning by judges both men admitted to lapses in judgement in meeting a spy chief from Muammar Gaddafi's regime who was wanted by the French justice system after being convicted of a terrorist attack. Yet they deny there was any deal for the Libyans to help fund the election campaign. Both men also loyally continue to protect their former boss, who himself faces claims of criminal conspiracy and corruption in the case. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

Libyan funding of Sarkozy campaign: Takieddine retracts, the evidence remains

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Nicolas Sarkozy and Muammar Gaddafi in Paris on December 10th 2007. © FRANCK FIFE / AFP Nicolas Sarkozy and Muammar Gaddafi in Paris on December 10th 2007. © FRANCK FIFE / AFP

Ziad Takieddine, the ruined businessman who is on the run after being convicted in a separate political corruption case in France, has told Paris Match magazine and BFM-TV news channel that there was “no Libyan funding” of Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign. This contradicts what he has previously told a judicial investigation into the affair and various media. But he maintains that he did hand over cash to Sarkozy's former chief of staff Claude Guéant. The former president himself immediately made clear his delight at Takieddine's retraction. Just a few days ago Sarkozy had described the middleman as a “madman” and a “manipulator”. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

Libyan funding case: what Sarkozy told the judges

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Left to right: Claude Guéant, Nicolas Sarkozy and Brice Hortefeux in June 2005. © PASCAL PAVANI / AFP Left to right: Claude Guéant, Nicolas Sarkozy and Brice Hortefeux in June 2005. © PASCAL PAVANI / AFP

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was subjected to four days of questioning earlier this month by judges leading a complex investigation into evidence of Libyan funding of his 2007 election campaign, at the end of which he was formally placed under investigation for “criminal conspiracy”. Mediapart has obtained access to the transcripts of the interrogation, during which he insisted on his innocence and laid responsibility for any wrongdoing on his two longstanding, loyal right-hand men, Claude Guéant and Brice Hortefeux, describing their dealings with Libya and intermediaries as, variously, “incomprehensible”, an “error” and a “mistake”. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

Documents place SocGen execs in question over Libyan corruption scam

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The SocGen operation involved officials of the regime of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. © Reuters. The SocGen operation involved officials of the regime of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. © Reuters.

Giant French banking group Société Générale has admitted corrupting Libyan officials under the regime of late dictator Muammar Gaddafi to gain contracts worth more than 2 billion dollars. The scam involved paying vast secret commissions to a businessman intermediary via his offshore company based in Panama. In a 2017 statement recognising its role, the bank said that it “wishes to place on record its regret about the lack of caution of some of its employees”, but documents now obtained by Mediapart suggest the operation may have been validated at the highest level of the group’s management. Fabrice Arfi reports.

Revealed: Sarkozy aide received Libyan funds in secret offshore account

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Left to right: newly elected Nicolas Sarkozy hosts Muammar Gaddafi in Paris; French-Lebanese intermediary Ziad Takieddine; Niolas Sarkozy's close allies Brice Hortefeux and Thierry Gaubert. © Reuters/Document Mediapart Left to right: newly elected Nicolas Sarkozy hosts Muammar Gaddafi in Paris; French-Lebanese intermediary Ziad Takieddine; Niolas Sarkozy's close allies Brice Hortefeux and Thierry Gaubert. © Reuters/Document Mediapart

An investigation by Mediapart has confirmed that a longstanding close aide to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy received 440,000 euros in a secret offshore account paid from Libyan funds one year before the 2007 French presidential elections, casting further suspicion that Sarkozy’s successful bid was partly financed by the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The money was transferred by a shell company belonging to a French-Lebanese intermediary who is central to the funding allegations, through which transited several millions of euros from the Tripoli regime. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

Sarkozy-Libya affair: judges probe key middleman's network of influence

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Middleman Alexandre Djouhri in London, where he is fighting against extradition to France. Middleman Alexandre Djouhri in London, where he is fighting against extradition to France.

French detectives and judges investigating the financial links between former President Nicolas Sarkozy's entourage and the Libyan regime of dictator Muammar Gaddafi are making progress in relation to a key figure in the affair. He is businessman Alexandre Djouhri, currently living in London, whom French judges are trying to extradite for questioning. His right-hand man, banker Wahib Nacer, was placed under formal investigation in the affair earlier this year. Fabrice Arfi reports on the latest judicial developments that are causing concern for the Sarkozy clan.

Macron security aide affair: Mediapart responds to its critics

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Alexandre Benalla and President Emmanuel Macron during a visit to Normandy April 12th 2018. © Reuters Alexandre Benalla and President Emmanuel Macron during a visit to Normandy April 12th 2018. © Reuters

Mediapart is not a back-room intelligence agency but a news-gathering organization. We do not spy on anyone nor do we install secret microphones, writes Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel. We are content with revealing information in the public interest while respecting press laws. That is true in the current affair involving President Emmanuel Macron's security aide Alexandre Benalla just as it was in the earlier Bettencourt, Sarkozy-Gaddafi and Cahuzac affairs, he says.

Gaddafi spy chief tells French judges he oversaw 7m-euro payment for Sarkozy election campaign

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Mohamed Abdulla Senussi (left) during his trial in Tripoli in April 2014. © Reuters Mohamed Abdulla Senussi (left) during his trial in Tripoli in April 2014. © Reuters

As part of their investigation into the suspected funding by the Gaddafi regime in Libya of Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign, two French judges travelled to Tripoli earlier this month when they questioned, for the first time face-to-face, Gaddafi’s former spy chief, and brother-in-law, Mohamed Abdulla Senussi. Mediapart has gained access to extracts from the statements provided by Senussi, who detailed how he oversaw the payment of 7 million euros for Sarkozy’s campaign, as ordered by Gaddafi. He also confirmed that, as part of the deal, the former French president’s personal lawyer and friend Thierry Herzog was involved in moves to overturn an international arrest warrant issued against Senussi after his conviction in absentia by a Paris court for his part in the blowing up of a French airliner in 1989.

Libyan funding affair: Nicolas Sarkozy's final defeat against Mediapart

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Left to right: the French president's chief aide Claude Guéant, Muammar Gaddafi and Nicolas Sarkozy inTripoli in 2007. © Reuters Left to right: the French president's chief aide Claude Guéant, Muammar Gaddafi and Nicolas Sarkozy inTripoli in 2007. © Reuters

France's highest appeal court, the Cour de Cassation, has rejected an appeal by former president Nicolas Sarkozy in a case against Mediapart relating to the authenticity of a key document showing he was promised Libyan funding for his 2007 election campaign. The judgement, published on Wednesday January 30th, means that the former president can no longer evade the election funding scandal revealed by this site, says Mediapart's publishing editor Edwy Plenel.

Gaddafi son tells French probe how dictator 'funded Sarkozy campaign'

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Saïf al-Islam Gaddafi appearing before a court in Zintan, Libya, on May 15th 2014. © Reuters Saïf al-Islam Gaddafi appearing before a court in Zintan, Libya, on May 15th 2014. © Reuters

In August this year, Saïf al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, sent a lengthy written statement to French magistrates investigating evidence that France’s former president Nicolas Sarkozy secretly received millions of euros from the dictator’s regime to finance his 2007 election campaign. Mediapart has gained access to the statement in full, and reveals here the most notable extracts, in which he corroborates the accounts of the illegal funding, details how it was organised, and relates how Sarkozy and his close entourage sought, as a return favour, to overturn a life sentence handed by a Paris court to Gaddafi’s intelligence chief in absentia for his role in the 1989 bombing of a French airliner which killed 170 passengers and crew. Karl Laske and Fabrice Arfi report.

Libyan funding: police find evidence in Élysée of bid to clear Gaddafi henchman

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Security chief Abdullah Senussi  in August 2011, just before the fall of the Libyan regime under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. © Reuters Security chief Abdullah Senussi in August 2011, just before the fall of the Libyan regime under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. © Reuters

Investigators probing claims that the Libyan regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi funded Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign have unearthed a key piece of evidence in the archives of the Élysée. It shows that on May 16th, 2009, the middleman Ziad Takieddine visited the Élysée to meet Sarkozy's right-hand man Claude Guéant. The object was to “set aside the arrest warrant” targeting Colonel Gaddafi's brother-in-law and security chief Abdullah Senussi, who had been convicted in absentia for his part in the 1989 bombing of a French UTA airline DC10 passenger plane over Niger, in which 170 people lost their lives. There is growing suspicion that an agreement to resolve Senussi's situation was a key component of the Libyan funding corruption plot. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske.

Ex-minister seeks to justify cash payments in Libyan election funding affair

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Senior conservative MP Éric Woerth in the National Assembly on November 15th, 2017. © Reuters Senior conservative MP Éric Woerth in the National Assembly on November 15th, 2017. © Reuters

The former minister and current senior Member of Parliament Éric Woerth has been questioned by judges investigating claims that Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential election campaign was funded by Muammar Gaddafi's Libyan regime. Woerth, the treasurer of that campaign, sought to play down his role in handling envelopes stuffed full of cash at the election campaign headquarters. But according to a transcript of his evidence, seen by Mediapart, Woerth's explanations weakened his own defence. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report

The Libyan who unearthed secret Gaddafi regime archives on airliner bombing

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Samir Shegwara, who has unearthed key documents relating to the bombing of a French airliner in 1989. © Mediapart Samir Shegwara, who has unearthed key documents relating to the bombing of a French airliner in 1989. © Mediapart

The recent revelations by Mediapart about the secret plot by Nicolas Sarkozy's followers to clear the name of a Libyan spy chief owe a great deal to one man: Samir Shegwara. It was this city councillor from Libya who sifted through the regime's old archives after the fall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in the 2011 revolution. There he unearthed key documents about the bombing of the UTA DC 10 carried out by Libyans in 1989, and about the subsequent efforts by Sarkozy's team to help the man convicted over the terror attack - Gaddafi's brother-in-law and security chief Abdullah Senussi. Mediapart went to meet him. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

Libyan funding: Sarkozy clan's secret plan to clear man behind airliner bombing

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Security chief Abdullah Senussi  in August 2011, just before the fall of the Libyan regime under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. © Reuters Security chief Abdullah Senussi in August 2011, just before the fall of the Libyan regime under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. © Reuters

According to documents gathered by an elected official in Tripoli, in 2005 Nicolas Sarkozy's close friend and personal lawyer Thierry Herzog offered to get an arrest warrant and conviction against a senior Libyan official – who was blamed for a terrorist attack - quashed. The man in question, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's brother-in-law and security chief Abdullah Senussi, had been given a life prison sentence in his absence for masterminding the 1989 bombing of a French UTA airline DC10 passenger plane over Niger, in which 170 people lost their lives. The documents, seen by Mediapart, also show that Herzog was taken to Tripoli to discuss the affair by Francis Szpiner, the lawyer for the victims of the attack, though the latter has denied making the trip. The revelations point to a potential quid pro quo to explain why the Libyan regime would have been willing to help fund Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign, claims over which the former president is being investigated. Karl Laske and Fabrice Arfi report.

Gaddafi interpreter details Sarkozy's meetings with Libyan dictator

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Moftah Missouri, standing behind Mummar Gaddafi during a meeeting with Nicolas Sarkozy. © DR Moftah Missouri, standing behind Mummar Gaddafi during a meeeting with Nicolas Sarkozy. © DR

In a lengthy interview with Mediapart earlier this month in Tunisia, where he now lives in exile, Moftah Missouri, who served for 15 years as the personal advisor and interpreter of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, details his first-hand knowledge of Nicolas Sarkozy’s confidential dealings with the Gaddafi regime, before and after he became president. Sarkozy was last month placed under formal investigation in a French judicial probe into Gaddafi’s suspected secret funding of his 2007 election campaign, and Missouri, who told Mediapart the Libyan leader confirmed to him in person the illicit financing, says he is willing to testify before the French magistrates.