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French ex-president Sarkozy held in Libya financing probe




Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been taken into police custody for questioning over allegations that he received campaign funding from the late Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi. Naija News Learnt

Police are investigating alleged irregularities over the financing of his 2007 presidential campaign. Police have questioned him previously. A former aide, Alexandre Djouhri, was arrested in London recently.

A source close to the inquiry also said that Brice Hortefeux, a top government minister during Sarkozy’s presidency, was also questioned Tuesday as part of the inquiry.Before his arrest in January, Djouhri, a 59-year-old Swiss resident, was well known among France’s rightwing political establishment, and had refused to respond to summons for questioning in Paris.

He has been a focus of the inquiry opened in 2013 by judges investigating earlier claims by late Libyan ruler Moamer Kadhafi and his son Seif al-Islam that they provided funds for Sarkozy’s election effort.

Sarkozy has dismissed the allegations as the claims of vindictive Libyan regime members furious over his participation in the US-led military intervention that ended Kadhafi’s 41-year rule.

Franco-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine said he had made three trips from Tripoli to Paris in late 2006 and early 2007 with cash for Sarkozy’s campaign.

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Each time he carried a suitcase containing 1.5 to 2.0 million euros in 200-euro and 500-euro notes, Takieddine claimed in a French media interview, saying he was given the money by Kadhafi’s military intelligence chief Abdallah Senussi.