Judicial information was opened in 2013 in France, a thick puzzle in which Nicolas Sarkozy is indicted for four offenses and disputes any accusation.
In parallel, a Libyan investigation has made it possible, in recent years already, to hear several relatives of the Guide killed in 2011 mention, without providing material evidence, the money paid. A suitcase of cash, according to former Prime Minister Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi (2006 to 2011); a payment of seven million euros according to the former head of military intelligence and brother-in-law of Gaddafi, Abdallah Senoussi.
At the beginning of June, the French investigating magistrate Aude Buresi, an investigator from Oclciff (Central Office for the Fight against Corruption and Financial and Tax Offences) and a prosecutor from the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office traveled to Libya.
According to elements of the investigation of which AFP was aware, unveiled by Mediapart recently, a Tripoli prosecutor confirmed to them the Libyan desire to file a civil action in France and summarized the latest testimonies obtained, according to him “very variables, because some people are afraid of being prosecuted in Libya for embezzlement of public money”.
– A visit in 2005 –
Main novelty, the very first hearing of the former financier Bachir Saleh, presented by other Libyans as central in this supposed financing, as manager of a state fund through which part of the payments would have passed.
Exfiltrated from Libya to France in the midst of the Libyan revolution, then from France abroad in 2012, when power became socialist in France, this 75-year-old man had several times swept away this “Franco-French salad”. However, a team from the 2018 “Cash investigation” television program recorded him without his knowledge when he said he “believed” in the accusations of Libyan financing made by Abdallah Senoussi, while clearing himself of any role.
According to these new elements, obtained via a hearing in Dubai in 2019, Mr. Saleh again denied having played any role but, for the first time, he claims to have “heard that Nicolas Sarkozy asked Muammar Gaddafi to help him in his campaign.
The one who has been the subject of an international arrest warrant since 2018 issued by French judges immediately tempered: according to the Libyan prosecutor, “he does not know how this aid was paid” and “does not know if he there have been sums transferred”.
More recently, in early 2021, Ahmed Ramadan, Gaddafi’s former private secretary, told Libyan justice that during his famous 2005 visit as interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy had “asked Muammar Gaddafi to support him financially and morally for his next election campaign. (Le Guide) gave him his agreement”, without the value of this support being mentioned.
Categorical, the former confidant of the Guide mentioned a sum then fixed at 7 million euros and dollars, attested by “receipts” and “proof” not provided.
Another witness, however, was less clear-cut on these accusations: Abdel Rahmane Chalgham, Gaddafi’s foreign minister between 2000 and 2009.
The man who had defected during the Libyan uprising in early 2011 said in February 2018 that he had never heard of such funding, except during a single undated discussion with the Guide, during which Gaddafi wondered, according to Chalgham, whether money had actually been paid.
The French investigation also recently recovered a testimony from another close friend of Gaddafi, his ex-chief of protocol Mabrouka Cherif, produced in 2019.
Like Ahmed Ramadan and other Libyan dignitaries, she said that during her 2005 visit, Nicolas Sarkozy had “asked” Muammar Gaddafi “to support him and help him in his electoral campaign” of 2007, to ‘after her for “20 million”, request renewed in 2010 again for “20 million euros”.
– Agendas –
At the request of the investigating magistrates, the French investigators also looked into the relationship between Nicolas Sarkozy and the former senior official Thierry Gaubert, indicted in January 2020 because suspected of having touched via various banking operations and the intermediary Ziad Takieddine funds from the Gaddafi regime.
A few months later, Nicolas Sarkozy had declared twice not to have seen his former collaborator since 1996. But the analysis of the diaries of the latter brought “numerous elements confirming the continuation of relations” between the two “after 1995 “, according to the commander of Oclciff who is investigating this case.
More anecdotally, the ex-wife of the Head of State Cécilia Attias was also questioned in early June.
She presented Nicolas Sarkozy as an “honest man, deeply honest”, “a statesman”, while indicating that he had “fallen from (his) chair more than once” upon discovering in the press elements on This folder. “Either I was very naive, or I was very stupid, but for me, it didn’t fit at all into the image I had and what I experienced”.
Contacted on these Libyan testimonies as on these elements from the diaries, neither the entourage, nor the lawyer of the ex-president, presumed innocent, replied to AFP.