Ziad Takieddine

More details emerge of witness tampering plot to undermine Sarkozy-Libya funding probe

France— Investigation

An ongoing French judicial investigation into “witness tampering” centres on a secret operation in late 2020 to successfully convince a key witness in the probe into suspected Libyan funding of Nicola Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign, business intermediary Ziad Takieddine, to publicly retract his statements detailing the illicit funding. Mediapart has gained access to emerging evidence in the witness tampering case, and which throws further light on the links between members of the disparate group behind the operation and the former president’s entourage. Karl Laske and Fabrice Arfi report.

Suitcases of cash, threats and violence; the fallout from the Sarkozy-Takieddine affair

France— Investigation

Two people have been remanded in custody in the aftermath of the operation in which Ziad Takieddine, a key witness in the Nicolas Sarkozy-Libyan funding affair, made a false retraction of his evidence. One of the men in detention is the wealthy businessman Pierre Reynaud. As Mediapart can reveal, aspects of the saga have taken on the appearance of a Martin Scorsese crime movie. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report.

Revealed: the extraordinary plan to free one of Gaddafi's sons in bid to help Sarkozy

France— Investigation

France's financial prosecution unit the Parquet National Financier (PNF) has broadened the scope of its investigation into claims that Ziad Takieddine, a key witness over allegations that Libya helped fund Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign, was induced to change his evidence. Well-connected Paris paparazzi boss Michèle 'Mimi' Marchand is one of those under investigation over the allegations. Prosecutors now also want to look at suspicions of an extraordinary plan to bribe judges in order to free one of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi's sons from prison in Lebanon. The idea was that, in exchange, a grateful Hannibal Gaddafi would then speak out and clear the former president's name over the 2007 election funding allegations. As Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report, the affair could potentially now become an international scandal.

Brigitte Macron's embarrassing chat with paparazzi boss under investigation for 'criminal conspiracy'

France— Investigation

In a tapped phone conversation in July, Brigitte Macron, wife of France’s president, told paparazzi agency boss Michèle Marchand, an influential PR fixer to politicians who is formally placed under investigation for witness tampering and criminal conspiracy in a case related to a probe into suspected Libyan funding of former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s election campaign, that she was to contact her security officer for help “if you get bother”. After she encouraged Marchand to “stay firm” following the latter's release from jail, Brigitte Macron also deplored the “terrible” judicial treatment of Sarkozy. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report.

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

France— Investigation

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.

Sarkozy-Libya funding probe: judges investigating witness tampering say case is 'of major gravity’

France— Investigation

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

France— Investigation

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 Arfi, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report.  

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

France

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

France— Investigation

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 Arfi, Karl Laske, Yann Philippin and Antton Rouget report.

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

France— Investigation

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

International— Link

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

France— Investigation

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

France— Investigation

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

France— Investigation

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

France— Investigation

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.