Nicolas Sarkozy, former president of France, has been arrested over 2007 election campaign funding.
Sarkozy has been handed preliminary charges for allegedly receiving Lybian funding for his campaign that year.
Lybian Money for a French President
Police are holding Sarkozy for questioning about having allegedly received campaign funding from late Lybian dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The questions have to do with a number of “irregularities” discovered in his 2007 campaign financing, reported Reuters.
According to those reports, Sarkozy partially funded his presidential campaign with €50 million he accepted from the Gaddafi’s regime. These claims were underscored by statements made by Gaddafi’s own son and by French-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine.
Over the Limit
It isn’t just the source of the money that has been called into question. On top of that, it appears that Sarkozy received over double the permitted French election spending limit. In 2007, there was a cap on spending for French elections of €21 million.
Beyond that, the payments Sarkozy allegedly received would further break French laws regarding disclosing campaign fund sources as well as laws about foreign financing.
Both Sarkozy and his campaign manager have been adamant about their denials of having accepted the Libian money. Le Monde reported that this represents the first time Sarkozy has been questioned regarding these funds, which have been under investigation since April 2013.
Past Claims Coming Back
Seven years ago this month, Saif al Islam Gaddafi, son of the late dictator, was quoted in Euronews on the subject. “Sarkozy has to give back the money he accepted from Libya to finance his electoral campaign. We financed his campaign and we have the proof…,” he said. “The first thing we’re demanding is that this clown gives back the money to the Libyan people.”
Takieddine furthered that statement by having said he delivered three cash-filled suitcases to Paris within the years 2006 and 2007. At that time, he handed them to Sarkozy at the interior ministry as he was a minister there.
Sarkozy won the election in 2007 and he remained president of France until 2012. He tried to regain the presidency in 2017 but was unsuccessful.