Nicolas Sarkozy, the former president of France long shadowed by allegations of improper campaign financing, denied Thursday that he betrayed the country by accepting illegal cash from the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Sarkozy said during an extended TF1 interview that he was outraged and deeply wounded by formal indictments on taking bribes, illegal financing of his 2007 election campaign and concealment of embezzlement. A defiant Sarkozy lashed out at his accusers – both Libyan and French – including the investigative journalists at independent French media outlet Mediapart.
The news organization first published a document in April 2012 that tied €50 million in Sarkozy campaign funding from Gaddafi directly to Libya, facilitated by alleged intermediaries Brice Hortefeux and Ziad Takieddine, both of whom Sarkozy is now forbidden to meet.
In a sudden but unsurprising turn of events, Sarkozy was taken to the office of Ministry of Interior anticorruption authorities (OCLCIFF) in Nanterre Wednesday for questioning. The OCLCIFF recently submitted new documents to French judicial authorities detailing the complicated relationships of those tied to the Sarkozy case and the cash flow among them, Le Monde reports.
Takieddine, a wealthy French-Lebanese businessman known as an arms dealer, said in a 2016 interview with Mediapart and PLTV that he delivered three suitcases stuffed with cash to Sarkozy and aide Claude Guéant. Brice Hortefeux, a former French Minister of Interior and European Parliament minister who was implicated in those meetings a decade ago, also was summoned as a witness by the OCLCIFF.