Monday 23 July 2018

Sarkozy to face Gaddafi charges

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Photo: AP
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Photo: AP

Samuel Petrequin

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has been handed preliminary charges over allegations he accepted millions of euro in illegal campaign funding from the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

A legal source said investigative judges overseeing the probe gave the ex-president charges of illegally funding his 2007 winning campaign, passive corruption and receiving money from Libyan embezzlement.

The charges came after Mr Sarkozy was questioned for two days by anti-corruption police at a station in Nanterre, north west of the French capital.

The investigation involves funding for his 2007 president campaign. Investigators are examining allegations Gaddafi's regime secretly gave the politician €50m overall for his campaign.

The sum would be more than double the legal campaign funding limit at the time - €21m. In addition, the alleged payments would violate French rules against foreign financing and requiring that the source of campaign funds be declared.

Mr Sarkozy (63), who was president from 2007-12, has repeatedly and vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

In the French judicial system, preliminary charges mean Mr Sarkozy is personally under formal investigation in a criminal case.

The judges will keep investigating in the next weeks and months.

At the end of their probe, they can decide either to drop the preliminary charges or to send Mr Sarkozy to trial on formal charges.

Irish Independent

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