Keyword: Muammar Gaddafi
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.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced he is to sue Mediapart over its report of plans by the former Libyan regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to fund his presidential election campaign in 2007. Mediapart stands by all the evidence it has revealed, writes Editor-in Chief Edwy Plenel, who explains here why Sarkozy’s reaction, and the accompanying denials of two protected former Gaddafi henchmen, were entirely predictable.
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.
After providing Mediapart with further information concerning allegations that President Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign was partly funded by former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, the man at the centre of the controversy has now suddenly denounced a “crude manipulation” of his secret report detailing the alleged scam. Jean-Charles Brisard, a French expert on terrorism and terrorist financing, had earlier told Mediapart how Brice Hortefeux, (pictured with arms dealer Ziad Takieddine) 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.” Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.
According to information contained in a confidential report prepared by a recognised French expert on terrorism and terrorist financing, President Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign received up to 50 million euros in secret funds from the regime of the late Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. The document, to which Mediapart has gained exclusive access and details of which are published here, suggests the money transited by a covert financial network, via Panama and a Swiss bank account, allegedly organized by Paris-based arms dealer Ziad Takieddine.
Franco-Lebanese arms dealer Ziad Takieddine is a key figure in what has become known as the ‘Karachi affair', involving alleged secret political funding from commissions paid in French weapons sales abroad. A judge leading an independent probe into the suspected scam last month placed Takieddine and two of President Nicolas Sarkozy's close friends and aides under formal investigation in the case. In a series of investigations that began this summer, Mediapart has revealed Takieddine's unusual role as intermediary and advisor in a number of French weapons sales, and his close relationship with several of President Sarkozy's inner circle of friends and advisors. Documents obtained by Mediapart now disclose how the arms dealer was involved in arranging for the French presidency the services of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to free former hostage Ingrid Betancourt (photo) from her FARC captors in Colombia. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.
Amid continuing speculation over the whereabouts of deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Mediapart has obtained exclusive details of a highly sophisticated ‘stealth' four-wheel drive armoured vehicle sold by France to Libya in 2008 for the dictator's safe transport. The modified Mercedes can "instantaneously detect over 2,000 threats" according to French company Bull which developed the vehicle's security system (illustration) as part of a controversial weapons and security contract negotiated with Tripoli by President Nicolas Sarkozy's staff. The deal included equipment presented as "an inviolable solution to the Anglo-American espionage system". Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report on a deal that may still be ensuring mobile refuge for on-the-run Gaddafi.
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 the very close and longstanding links between Takieddine and the inner circle of advisors and aides surrounding Nicolas Sarkozy - before and after he became French president - and for whose office he served as a secret diplomatic and commercial emissary. Here, Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske reveal how Takieddine, while negotiating a rapprochement between France and Libya, served as a protector for Colonel Mumamar Gaddafi's nephew Mohammed al-Senussi (photo) after he was charged in London with causing ‘grievous bodily harm' to two escort girls.
Mediapart has obtained confidential documents that reveal how international arms dealer Ziad Takieddine was mandated by Nicolas Sarkozy's staff, before and after he became president, to negotiate on their behalf major weapons and security contracts with the Libyan regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
- Takieddine was notably an intermediary for the sale of a French encrypted signals system to protect the Libyan regime from surveillance by the US-led Western communications interception network known as ‘Echelon'.
- Mediapart can also reveal that President Sarkozy's former chief-of-staff, the current French interior minister Claude Guéant misled, while under oath, a French parliamentary commission investigating the circumstances of French involvement in the freeing of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian medic jailed in Libya, in 2007.