Sarkozy protests his innocence in Libya cash scandal

25 March, 2018, 00:46 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Embattled Sarkozy says Libya accusations make his life 'hell'

Most recently, the former French president denounced the lack of "physical evidence" in his case, as cited by local media.

Mr Sarkozy, who was head of state between 2007 and 2012, was placed under formal investigation - the equivalent of charging a suspect in the United Kingdom - on Wednesday on suspicion of corruption, the misuse of Libyan public money and breaking French election campaign funding law.

He also said that, while criticised for hosting Gaddafi with red carpet treatment in late 2007 in Paris, he was one of the chief advocates of the NATO-led intervention in 2011 in Libya, where Gaddafi was killed in rebel hands.

Sarkozy, who served as French president from 2007-2012, has vehemently denied allegations he received funding from the Libyan regime since the allegations came out. His spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press.

He returned home Wednesday after being placed under court supervision.

Ex-French President Sarkozy has blamed Gadhafi supporters for allegations that he accepted campaign funding from Libya in 2007. Details of the conditions he has been ordered to follow have not been revealed. The former French president said Gaddafi was a "crazy man who likely used drugs", a bloodthirsty dictator whose "band of killers, crooks and mafiosos" were now slandering Sarkozy because he had helped topple the Gaddafi regime in 2011.

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According to the text, the former president told investigators that the allegations even cost him a re-election bid in 2012 when they remerged during the campaign.

In his court statement Sarkozy lashed out at Franco-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine, who claims to have delivered three cash-stuffed suitcases from Kadhafi in 2006 and 2007, when Sarkozy was preparing his first run for president.

Takieddine, after Sarkozy was charged on Wednesday night, retorted: "I'm not the liar here".

He claimed he personally handed a suitcase containing 2 million euros in cash to Sarkozy at the then-candidate's apartment and another suitcase with 1.5 million euros to Sarkozy and a close aide at the French Interior Ministry. The following year, Sarkozy seemed to have been cleared of those charges, but he was detained and questioned about them again in 2014, as NPR's Bill Chappell reported at the time.

"If you had told me that I would have problems because of Gaddafi, I would have said: 'What are you smoking?'" Sarkozy said at one point, claiming that investigators had not found a single piece of evidence against him.

He said the money was not meant to finance Sarkozy's presidential campaign in 2007, but to honor contracts between France and Libya.

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