(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
Deposed Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi allegedly gave Nicolas Sarkozy and a senior official three suitcases filled with cash to fund the former French presidents 2007 campaign, said Ziad Takieddine, a French-Lebanese businessman who claims to be the one who transferred the suitcases.
On Tuesday, Takieddine gave a statement released by news website Mediapart claiming that he gave Sarkozy about 5 million euros of illegal funds from Abdullah Senussi, Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief, to Claude Gueant, Sarkozy’s campaign director at the time.
“Why and how can a guy like this stand for presidency of the Republic? The French people must react. It will explode,” said Takieddine.
Philippe Bouchez El Ghozi, the lawyer representing Gueant said the allegations are faulty and that Claude had “never received from near or far or heard about a centime of money from Libya to support Nicolas Sarkozy’s campaign. He has repeated this multiple times to the judicial authorities,” the lawyer told Reuters.
These allegations arise just as the former French president is setting his sights on being nominated as the conservative party’s candidate in next year’s presidential race.
Sarkozy has repeatedly denied that he has taken illicit funds from Gaddafi, and Sarkozy’s support staff did not provide any comment regarding the allegations.
The release of the video statement was made days before the primary elections go into the first round for the centre-right’s candidate and could possibly complicate Sarkozy’s campaign.
In 2013, an investigation was opened by the public prosecutor in France when Takieddine made the same allegations. The difference with the recent statement from Takieddine is that his recent statement provides more information about how the money was transferred and Sarkozy’s involvement in the matter.
On Saturday, Takieddine submitted a written deposition to the judges outlining a cash transfer of three suitcases around 2006-2007 in addition to a meeting that took place between Takieddine, Gueant and Sarkozy.
Takieddine adds that he did not witness either Gueant or Sarkozy, when he was still minister, open the suitcases and look inside at the time he handed them over.
Previous claims made by government officials from the Gaddafi regime echo Takieddine allegations. The officials from Gaddafi’s government had also made claims about funding Sarkozy’s campaign.
In 2011, France was heavily involved in the NATO military campaign that supported the uprising that took down the Gaddafi regime and killed former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.