Keyword: Ziad Takieddine

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.

The corruption pact behind the suitcases of Libyan cash sent to Paris

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Left to right: Nicolas Sarkozy, Ziad Takieddine, Claude Guéant, Abdullah al-Senussi and Sarkozy's lawyer Thierry Herzog. Left to right: Nicolas Sarkozy, Ziad Takieddine, Claude Guéant, Abdullah al-Senussi and Sarkozy's lawyer Thierry Herzog.

Mediapart is publishing four documents which prove that from 2005 to 2009 Nicolas Sarkozy and his aides tried to extricate Libyan spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi from his legal problems in France where he had been convicted for his involvement in the bombing of a passenger plane over Africa. The same Senussi is suspected of having sent five million euros in Libyan cash to Sarkozy and his chief of staff Claude Guéant before the 2007 presidential election - as revealed by the man who says he physically carried the money, arms dealer Ziad Takieddine. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

New bid to get former top French government aides tried over Karachi affair

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Facing trial? Former government aides Thierry Gaubert and Nicolas Bazire. © DR Facing trial? Former government aides Thierry Gaubert and Nicolas Bazire. © DR

An investigation into claims that kickbacks from French arms deals were illegally used to finance the 1995 presidential campaign of former prime minister Édouard Balladur has been bogged down in legal wrangles since early 2016. Now, however, a senior prosecutor has called for six men said to be at the heart of the corruption scandal known as the 'Karachi affair' to stand trial. Fabrice Arfi reports.

Trump election campaign manager cited in French probe into illegal political funding

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Paul Manafort, campaign manager for Donald Trump, at the Republican convention in Cleveland. © Reuters Paul Manafort, campaign manager for Donald Trump, at the Republican convention in Cleveland. © Reuters

Donald Trump’s election campaign manager Paul Manafort is suspected by a French judicial investigation of having signed a fake contract with Paris-based arms dealer Ziad Takieddine to help the latter hide the real origin of cash seized by customs officers which he had smuggled into France from Switzerland. The incident occurred at the height of what has become known as the “Karachi Affair”, involving suspected illegal funding of former French prime minister Édouard Balladur’s 1995 presidential election campaign. Manafort is also suspected by the investigation of having invoiced the Balladur camp for unnecessary opinion polls during the campaign. Karl Laske and Fabrice Arfi report.  

Mossack Fonseca's key role in French corruption cases

panamapapers

The Panama Papers revelations have rocked the world with disclosures of how Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca mounted offshore financial structures for the rich and powerful that enable tax evasion and money laundering on a staggering scale. Beyond the sensational cases emerging in the leaked documents, Mossack Fonseca is also cited in several judicial investigations into some of the most important corruption scandals in France over recent years. Fabrice Arfi, Karl Laske, Mathilde Mathieu, Yann Philippin and Ellen Salvi report.

When Sarkozy met Gaddafi: how the Libyan election funding saga began

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Nicolas Sarkozy et Mouammar Kadhafi sur le perron de l'Elysée, en 2007.  © Reuters Nicolas Sarkozy et Mouammar Kadhafi sur le perron de l'Elysée, en 2007. © Reuters

The story of the covert Libyan funding of Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign started two years earlier with a meeting between Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and the then presidential hopeful Sarkozy himself, Mediapart can reveal. According to arms dealer Ziad Takieddine, who was in Tripoli at the time, Sarkozy directly asked Gaddafi for financial help during an official visit to the North African country in October 2005. A short time later Sarkozy's close political friend and ally Brice Hortefeux made a visit to Tripoli in which he had an off-diary meeting with Gadaffi's security chief Abdullah Senussi, a key figure in the corruption allegations involving Libya and France. Judges investigating the Libyan funding of Sarkozy's campaign are now painstakingly piecing together the background to the affair. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

Former top French government aides sent for trial in arms kickbacks scam

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Thierry Gaubert et Nicolas Bazire © DR Thierry Gaubert et Nicolas Bazire © DR

At the end of an investigation that has lasted more than three years, six people, including a former minister and the current managing director of luxury goods firm LVMH, have been sent for trial for their alleged roles in a gigantic political funding scam that centred on secret cash kickbacks from French weapons sales abroad.  The case, one the biggest political corruption scandals to have emerged in France in recent decades, yet threatens to engulf the political masters of those accused - former French prime minister Édouard Balladur, his defence minister François Léotard, and Balladur’s budget minister, later French president, Nicolas Sarkozy. Fabrice Arfi reports.       

Arms deals fixer Ziad Takieddine refused UK entry and returned to France

Businessman, who is banned by the French courts from leaving France, may also have tried to take flight to Middle East before Christmas.

The key document that could land Sarkozy before a judge in Karachi political funding scandal

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Par quels juges sera-t-il entendu ?  © Reuters Par quels juges sera-t-il entendu ? © Reuters

Judges investigating suspicions that senior politicians, including Nicolas Sarkozy, were implicated in the use of kickbacks from defence deals to illegally fund a presidential campaign have uncovered a dramatic new piece of evidence. The document, published here by Mediapart, shows that as budget minister Sarkozy signed a letter backing the complex set-up that led to the illegal payments. The document, which dates from 1994, contradicts claims from the former president that he had no involvement in the affair. Its discovery coincides with moves to get Sarkozy and two other former ministers investigated by a special court that handles allegations of offences committed by ministers in the line of duty. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

Ziad Takieddine says he paid illegal kickbacks to fund former French PM Edouard Balladur’s failed presidential bid

The Lebanese businessman says he handed over suitcases of cash in Geneva that came from arms deals with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

'Karachi affair' suspect charged, held in France

Arms dealer Ziad Takieddine had been detained on suspicion that he was making plans to flee the country by trying to buy a diplomatic passport.