France: Ex-President Sarkozy Charged Over Libyan Money Claims - NBC 10 Philadelphia
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

France: Ex-President Sarkozy Charged Over Libyan Money Claims

Sarkozy had a complex relationship with Gadhafi

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    France: Ex-President Sarkozy Charged Over Libyan Money Claims
    Patrick Hertzog/AP, File
    In this Dec.10, 2007 file photo, Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi, left, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, pose during a signing ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris. Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was placed in custody on Tuesday March 20 2018 as part of an investigation that he received millions of euros in illegal financing from the regime of the late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

    Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was handed preliminary charges Wednesday over allegations he accepted millions of euros in illegal campaign funding from the late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

    A judicial official told The Associated Press that investigating judges overseeing the probe gave the ex-president charges of illegally funding his successful 2007 campaign, passive corruption and receiving money from Libyan embezzlement.

    The person was not authorized to speak publicly about the case.

    The charges came after Sarkozy was questioned for two days by anticorruption police at a station in Nanterre, northwest of the French capital. Investigators are examining allegations that Gadhafi's regime secretly gave the politician 50 million euros overall for his campaign.

    Honda Odyssey Tops Minivan Crash Test List

    [NATL] Honda Odyssey Tops Minivan Crash Test List

    The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released new crash ratings for minivans.

    (Published Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018)

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

    Sarkozy, 63, who was France's president during 2007-12, has repeatedly and vehemently denied any wrongdoing. According to the same source, he again proclaimed his innocence during his questioning by police.

    The former president was released on Wednesday night, but placed under judicial supervision. Details of the restrictions he has been ordered to obey have not been revealed.

    In the French judicial system, preliminary charges mean Sarkozy is personally under formal investigation in a criminal case. The judges will keep investigating the case in the next weeks and months.

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

    Sarkozy had a complex relationship with Gadhafi. Soon after winning the French presidency, he invited the Libyan leader for a state visit and welcomed him to France with high honors.

    WH: Cannot Guarantee Trump Didn't Use N-Word

    [NATL] WH Defends Trump's 'Dog' Comment, Says They Cannot Guarantee Trump Didn't Use N-Word

    The White House defended President Donald Trump calling former protégée Omarosa Manigault-Newman a "dog" in a Tuesday press conference. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also could not guarantee that Trump has never used the N-word on record, but doubled down in his defense. 

    (Published Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018)

    But Sarkozy then put France in the forefront of the NATO-led airstrikes against Gadhafi's troops that helped rebel fighters topple Gadhafi's regime in 2011.

    Sarkozy has faced other campaign-related legal troubles in the past. In February 2017, he was ordered to stand trial after being handed preliminary charges for suspected illegal overspending on his failed 2012 re-election campaign. Sarkozy has appealed the decision.

    In 2013, he was cleared of allegations that he illegally took donations from France's richest woman, L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, on the way to his 2007 election victory.

    His lawyer, Thierry Herzog, did not respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press.

    Sarkozy's former top aide, the ex-minister Brice Hortefeux, was also questioned Tuesday, but not detained. He said on Twitter that the details he gave investigators "should help put an end to a series of mistakes and lies."

    The investigation got a boost when French-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine told the online investigative site Mediapart in 2016 that he delivered suitcases from Libya containing 5 million euros ($6.2 million) in cash to Sarkozy and his former chief of staff, Claude Gueant.

    Bridge Collapses Over Italian City, Killing More Than 20

    [NATL] Bridge Collapses Over Italian City, Killing More Than 20

    A bridge over the Italian city of Genoa collapsed during a sudden, violent storm, opening up a huge gulf in the Morandi Bridge and killing at least 20 people.

    (Published Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018)

    Takieddine repeated his allegations during a live interview with France's BFM TV on Wednesday night.

    He claimed he personally handed a suitcase containing 2 million euros (about $2.5 million) in cash to Sarkozy at the then-candidate's apartment and another suitcase with 1.5 million euros (about $1.9 million) to Sarkozy and a close aide at the French Interior Ministry. Sarkozy was interior minister at the time.

    Takieddine alleged he gave a third suitcase with 1.5 million euros in cash to the aide alone. He said the money was not meant to finance Sarkozy's presidential campaign in 2007, but to honor contracts between France and Libya.

    "He's a real liar," Takieddine said of Sarkozy.