The former French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, was in police custody over the allegations of the Libyan regime. The accusations include whether the former French head of state knowingly received illegal funds from former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi to help finance his campaign, according to the Guardian.
The Guardian also reported that the allegations specifically mention that Sarkozy’s campaign received millions of euros to fund his presidential campaign. In addition, Sarkozy won the presidency and governed from 2007 to 2012.
“Sarkozy, who was France’s rightwing president from 2007 to 2012, was being questioned on Tuesday morning by police officers specialising in corruption, money laundering and tax evasion at their office in the western Parisian suburb of Nanterre, as part of an inquiry into whether Gaddafi and others in Libya illegally financed his winning election campaign in 2007.”
The investigation is unprecedented for the European nation. As reported in the British daily report above, this could be France’s most explosive political financing scandal in recent decades. Sarkozy has appeared on national television denying allegations and characterizing them as “monstrous.”
In 2017, Sarkozy tried to run for the party’s nomination for the presidency. Nevertheless, he failed to rally support and ended up dropping out of the race. As France was getting the news about Sarkozy’s investigation, the country was the victim of a terrorist attack claimed by ISIS, according to CNN.
Police investigators examined claims from the Gaddafi regime and purported to have secretly given Sarkozy €50 million ($62,287,500) for the 2007 campaign. In France, the legal funding limit was set at €21 million ($26,160,750) back then. Furthermore, if the financing is proven true, it would violate French rules against foreign financing.
But the controversy started a while back. In an April 2012 report, the French investigative site, Mediapart, published a document that was authorized by a Libyan official and approved the payment for Sarkozy’s campaign.
The video above confirms Sarkozy denying the allegations as well as a Mediapart representative confirming the authenticity of the document made public.
The New York Times confirmed the investigation would go on for some time. In France, high profile and complex criminal cases are managed by special magistrates with broad investigative powers.
“This means that the investigation will continue for several months, if not longer. Mr. Sarkozy’s conduct will be restricted as the magistrates do their work — a first for a former president in recent French history.”
Also, Sarkozy has been ordered to stand trial in two separate cases, one of which is for exceeding strict limits on campaign spending and the other is for trying to obtain confidential information from a court judge, according to the New York Times.