14 – 20 Mar: Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy in custody for questioning due to financial ties with Muammar al-Qadhafi

Mar 20, 2018 | International actors

On 20 March, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was reportedly remanded in custody for questioning in relation to an ongoing investigation concerning the provision of financial assistance to his 2007 election campaign by Muammar al-Qadhafi.

Investigations began in 2013 following media reports that Franco-Lebanese businessman, Ziad Takieddine, had transferred money from Qadhafi’s former intelligence chief to Sarkozy’s campaign director. In 2016, Takieddine admitted delivering five million euros from Qadhafi for Sarkozy’s first presidential bid, claiming he had made three trips from Tripoli to Paris in late 2006 and early 2007, each time carrying a suitcase containing 1.5-2 million euros in 200-euro and 500-euro notes. Sarkozy has dismissed the allegations as the claims of vindictive Libyan regime members angry over his participation in the 2011 NATO campaign to oust Qadhafi from power.

French investigators expanded their investigation in 2016 to suspicions of embezzlement in the 2009 sale of a villa in the French Alps to the Libyan African Portfolio (LPA), a subsidiary of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), managed by Bashir Saleh. Djouhri is suspected of being the true owner of the villa. Both men failed to heed summons for questioning issued by the anti-corruption investigators in September 2016. Investigators also suspect Djouhri of helping Saleh get out of France in early 2012, in a private jet headed for Niger, as he faced a Libyan arrest warrant.