Keyword: Ziad Takieddine

French paparazzi boss Michèle Marchand faces investigation in police celebrity 'leaks' case

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Illustration featuring, from left, Karine Le Marchand, Michèle Marchand  and Benjamin Griveaux. © Photo Illustration Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart avec AFP Illustration featuring, from left, Karine Le Marchand, Michèle Marchand and Benjamin Griveaux. © Photo Illustration Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart avec AFP

Michèle 'Mimi' Marchand, a powerful figure in the French gossip press and an influential PR fixer to politicians, has already been placed under investigation over the retraction of evidence by businessman Ziad Takieddine, a key witness in the probe into Libyan funding of Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign. Now Marchand, 74, the boss of paparazzi agency Bestimage, has been placed under investigation in relation to a second case, involving allegations of police leaks. It concerns the publication of photos of the arrest of a man over a sex tape affair that ended the hopes of former government spokesperson Benjamin Griveaux of becoming mayor of Paris for Emmanuel Macron's party. Marchand, who denies any wrongdoing, is also being investigated for alleged “extortion” against well-known French television presenter Karine Le Marchand. Fabrice Arfi and Antton Rouget report.

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Sarkozy-Libya funding probe: judges investigating witness tampering denounce ‘case of major gravity’

Michèle Marchand and (clockwise from left) Hervé Gattegno, Ziad Takieddine, Nicolas Sarkozy and Thierry Herzog. © Photo Illustration Simon Toupet /Mediapart avec AFP Michèle Marchand and (clockwise from left) Hervé Gattegno, Ziad Takieddine, Nicolas Sarkozy and Thierry Herzog. © Photo Illustration Simon Toupet /Mediapart avec AFP

Documents to which Mediapart has obtained access reveal evidence suggesting how a witness tampering plot was mounted to discredit the case against former French president Nicolas Sarkozy in a judicial investigation into the alleged funding of his 2007 election campaign by the regime of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. According to judges investigating the alleged plot, it was “aimed at influencing the statements of a witness and to mislead, even to publicly discredit, the examining magistrates in charge of a case of particular sensitivity”. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report.

Sarkozy-Libyan funding case: the bizarre inside story of attempted manipulation

Nicolas Sarkozy on the news bulletin of TF1 television station, March 3rd 2021. © Ludovic MARIN / AFP Nicolas Sarkozy on the news bulletin of TF1 television station, March 3rd 2021. © Ludovic MARIN / AFP

In November 2020 Ziad Takieddine, a key witness in the judicial investigation into Libyan funding of Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential election campaign, retracted his evidence. The apparent volte-face by a man who had previously said Nicolas Sarkozy had been corrupted by Libyan money in the affair was seized on by the former president's supporters as a turning point in the lengthy judicial saga. But Takieddine's retraction was not a genuine one. New legal documents seen by Mediapart – who originally broke the story of the alleged funding scandal - show the scale of the media manipulation used to help Nicolas Sarkozy. The former president's role in this is now at the heart of this part of the investigation. So, too, is the role played by the so-called 'queen of the paparazzi' Michèle 'Mimi' Marchand who is currently in custody in connection with the case. She has told detectives that her role in the affair was to: “Kill Mediapart”.  Fabrice ArfiKarl Laske and Antton Rouget report.

 

Michèle Marchand: a woman at the heart of power in France

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Michèle Marchand at the Élysée in November 2017. © Ludovic Marin/AFP Michèle Marchand at the Élysée in November 2017. © Ludovic Marin/AFP

The “queen of the paparazzi” Michèle 'Mimi' Marchand, who is currently in the news in relation to aspects of the probe into Libyan funding of Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign, is reported to be close to Brigitte and Emmanuel Macron. She was a regular visitor to the Élysée at the start of President Macron's term of office in 2017, though became a more discreet presence after July 2018 and the emergence of the Benalla affair, when the president's personal security advisor Alexandre Benalla was videoed beating up protestors. Yet the influential position that the presidential couple granted her at the centre of power in France continues to raise questions, reports Ellen Salvi.

Sarkozy-Libya funding affair: paparazzi boss Michèle Marchand detained over alleged bail breach

'Mimi' Marchand photographed at the Elysée, November 15th 2017. © Ludovic Marin / AFP 'Mimi' Marchand photographed at the Elysée, November 15th 2017. © Ludovic Marin / AFP

French paparazzi agency boss Michèle Marchand, an influential PR fixer for politicians and confidante of presidents, has been taken into custody for breaching bail conditions. Earlier in June Marchand, nicknamed 'Mimi', was placed under formal investigation for witness tampering and criminal conspiracy in relation to an aspect of the long-running investigation into suspected Libyan financing of Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign. But she was subsequently released on bail. However, Mediapart has learnt from several sources that she was taken into detention on Friday June 18th for apparently breaching a condition of that bail. Fabrice ArfiKarl LaskeYann Philippin and Antton Rouget report.

French paparazzi agency boss under investigation for witness tampering in Sarkozy-Libya funding affair

Michèle "Mimi" Marchand in April 2017 in Le Touquet, northern France. © Eric Feferberg / AFP Michèle "Mimi" Marchand in April 2017 in Le Touquet, northern France. © Eric Feferberg / AFP

French paparazzi agency boss Michèle Marchand, an influential PR fixer for politicians, was on Saturday placed under formal investigation for witness tampering and criminal conspiracy. The move relates to the public retraction by a key witness of part of his previous testimony to a judicial probe that Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign was funded by the regime of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report.

Beirut detains businessman Ziad Takieddine after Interpol request

Takieddine was once an accuser in the inquiry into suspected Libyan financing of Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign but recently suddenly retracted his claim.

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.

New twist in Sarkozy-Libyan funding case after arrest of key former aide

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Thierry Gaubert at the court in Nanterre, west of Paris, in  2012 in an unrelated case. © Reuters Thierry Gaubert at the court in Nanterre, west of Paris, in 2012 in an unrelated case. © Reuters

In January 2020 Thierry Gaubert, a former close aide to Nicolas Sarkozy, was arrested and then placed under formal investigation for “criminal conspiracy” in relation to claims that the former president's 2007 election campaign was funded with Libyan money. Gaubert is now free on bail, but banned from meeting with either Sarkozy or the ex-head of state's long-standing friend and ally Brice Hortefeux. As Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report, this move marks a major turning point in the long-running judge-led investigation.

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.

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.

The evidence of how Nicolas Sarkozy served Gaddafi regime's interests

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Standingtogether: Nicolas Sarkozy and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. © Reuters Standingtogether: Nicolas Sarkozy and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. © Reuters

Nicolas Sarkozy, who has been placed under formal investigation for corruption over Libyan funding of his election campaign, has denied claims that he took money as part of a corrupt arrangement with Muammar Gaddafi's regime. He has also sought to rubbish accusations that as part of a corrupt pact he helped further the cause of Libya and some of its key figures. But here Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske detail the evidence showing that the former head of state did indeed serve the interests of Gaddafi's dictatorial regime.

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

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December 10th 2007: Nicolas Sarkozy welcomes Libtyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi on his first official visit to France. © Reuters December 10th 2007: Nicolas Sarkozy welcomes Libtyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi on his first official visit to France. © Reuters

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.

Libyan funding of Sarkozy election campaign: a damning police report

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Nicolas Sarkozy and his right-hand man Claude Guéant, March 27th, 2012. © Reuters Nicolas Sarkozy and his right-hand man Claude Guéant, March 27th, 2012. © Reuters

Police officers from France's anti-corruption squad, the OCLCIFF, have produced a preliminary and damning report into the claims that the Libyan regime under Muammar Gaddafi funded the 2007 presidential election campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy. It raises questions about the role of Éric Woerth who at the time was treasurer of Sarkozy's campaign, later became a minister and is now president of the finance committee at the National Assembly. Meanwhile judges have ordered the seizure of properties belonging to Sarkozy's former chief-of-staff and right-hand man, Claude Guéant. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

Arms dealer Takieddine: 'I gave suitcase of Libyan cash to Sarkozy'

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Money bagman: Ziad Takieddine says he took Libyan cash to Nicolas Sarkozy. © Pedro Da Fonseca/Premières Lignes Money bagman: Ziad Takieddine says he took Libyan cash to Nicolas Sarkozy. © Pedro Da Fonseca/Premières Lignes

In an interview filmed by Mediapart the arms dealer and intermediary Ziad Takieddine has described how he brought three suitcases of cash from Libya to give to Nicolas Sarkozy and his top aide just before the former's successful presidential campaign in 2007. In a testimony that backs up claims that Sarkozy's campaign was part-funded by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's regime, the Franco-Lebanese businessman says: “I discovered things that should no longer stay hidden.” The revelations come as Nicolas Sarkozy makes an enforced exit from French politics after his humiliating defeat in last week's primary to choose the Right's 2017 presidential candidate. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Nicolas Vescovacci report.