A Lebanese-born businessman claims he possesses concrete proof that former French president Nicolas Sarkozy received 50 million euros in illegal campaign funding from the now-deceased former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
According to a report this week in the French daily Le Parisien, Ziad Takieddine, an arms dealer with ties to a number of Middle Eastern countries, told a French judge that Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential campaign was “abundantly” funded by Gaddafi. He claimed that the payments continued even after Sarkozy was elected president.
Takieddine further alleged that a number of meetings to organize the payments took place between Claude Gueant, Sarkozy’s then-chief of staff, and Bashir Saleh Bashir, who was Gaddafi’s aide at the time.
The Lebanese businessman said he would provide the courts with substantiated proof of his claims if an investigation was launched.
One of the sons of the Libyan dictator, Saif-al Islam Gaddafi, has made similar claims and insisted that it was Libya that had bankrolled Sarkozy’s election.
“Sarkozy must give back the money he took from Libya to finance his electoral campaign — we funded it,” said Saif al-Islam Gaddafi days before the collapse of the Libyan regime.
The former French leader has repeatedly denied the allegations against him, stating they were “grotesque.”
Takieddine has been involved in French politics for over two decades. In 2007, he played a significant role in Sarkozy’s negotiations with Gaddafi to free Bulgarian nurses who were imprisoned in Libya.
He is currently under investigation for a number of allegations, including that he received illegal kickbacks on weapons deals and that he was involved in a money-laundering scheme.
Takieddine admitted that a proposed plea bargain had prompted him to publicly air his accusations against Sarkozy.