French Ex-President Faces Conspiracy Charge Over Funds From Gaddafi

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy faces an additional conspiracy charge as part of a year-long investigation into allegations that he received millions of euros from the regime of Libya’s late ruler Muammar Gaddafi to finance his 2007 presidential campaign. 

Sarkozy, who served as president from 2007 to 2012, said on Twitter Friday that he learned of the new indictment with “great amazement,” and that he is “perfectly innocent,” arguing that prosecutors have given “unlikely credit to the statements of assassins, notorious crooks, and false witnesses.”

“After four days of interrogation, during which I answered all the questions that were laid to me without ever being put in trouble, my innocence is once again flouted by a decision that does not show any evidence of any illicit financing,” he wrote, concluding that “injustice will not win.” 

Nicolas Sarkozy (Credit:Moritz Hager CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The new criminal conspiracy charge follows previous indictments filed by prosecutors in 2018 for illegal campaign financing, embezzling public funds, and passive corruption, for which he faces trial. 

According to a 2014 report by France24, Gaddafi told the news outlet that Sarkozy approached his regime for financial support in 2007 while serving as France’s interior minister, although he did not provide details on the amount it gave his campaign or any specific financial transactions. 

“Sarkozy is mentally deficient… It’s thanks to me that he became president… We gave him the funds that allowed him to win,” Gaddafi told the station.  

The total sum allegedly given to Sarkozy’s successful 2007 presidential campaign, which witnesses and documents suggest was upwards of €50 million (US$61million), was intended to gain political leverage. 

“For us, as Libyans, if the president of France wins elections thanks to our funds, it is a real advantage,” Gaddafi told his interviewer.

Sarkozy, who lost his re-election campaign in 2012, has been detained in connection with other investigations looking into suspicious campaign funding. In 2014, he was questioned over allegations that he offered a prestigious job in Monaco to a magistrate, who in return was to inform him whether there were any corruption probes against him that would go to court.

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