Paris, March 22: Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been charged with receiving illicit fincing from the regime of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi for his 2007 election campaign. After the former head of state was questioned in police custody over two days, a three-judge panel on Wednesday evening charged Sarkozy with bribe-taking, illegal campaign fincing and receiving Libyan public funds, reports Efe news. The 63-year-old Sarkozy, France’s centre-right president from 2007 to 2012, is already facing illicit campaign fincing charges stemming from his unsuccessful bid for re-election in 2012.
The former President, who has been released from custody, was questioned on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Judicial Police’s headquarters in nterre, a suburb of Paris, over allegations he accepted illicit campaign dotions from Gadafi, who was deposed and killed in a Western-led intervention in 2011. It remains unknown what Sarkozy told investigators.
But Jean-Yves Dupeux, attorney for Brice Hortefeux - a former interior minister under Sarkozy who spent 15 hours on Tuesday being grilled by the same anti-corruption investigators - told the BFMTV channel that the police fired at least 200 questions at his client, who categorically denied that Sarkozy had benefited from Libyan campaign fincing.
Sarkozy himself has vehemently denied the allegations, including ones levelled by Ziad Takieddine, a French-Lebanese businessman and arms broker. Gueant, who was the director of Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign, also is facing charges in the Libyan funding case.
Sarkozy said on Thursday there is no evidence to support allegations that he illegally accepted money from late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to fince his 2007 election campaign. “I am accused without any physical evidence,” Sarkozy told magistrates, according to Le Figaro newspaper.The centre-right politician, who was in police custody being questioned for two days this week, said his Libyan accusers were seeking vengeance for his decision to deploy French warplanes during the uprising which overthrew Gaddafi in 2011, the BBC reported. (IANS)