Gaddafi's money, Pakistani submarines and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy
As reported by the newspapers and Kommersant in the material of Alexei Tarkhanov, “Nicolas Sarkozy did not accept“ Gaddafi's money ”into his account. The main witness for the prosecution has denied his own testimony " , in the case of the former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was suspected of being financed by the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, there was a decisive turn. The main prosecution witness, Ziad Takieddin, retracted his words and complained about the investigators seeking testimony from him against the ex-president. Alexey Tarkhanov, Kommersant's correspondent in France, gives details. Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy (c) Emin Jafarov / Kommersant
In early October, Nicolas Sarkozy was charged with involvement in a "criminal community" in connection with the possible financing by Libya of his 2007 election campaign. But now the main witness for the prosecution, a businessman with Lebanese and French citizenship, Ziad Takieddin, came out with a refutation of his own words. Earlier, he claimed that in 2006-2007 he brought Nicolas Sarkozy and the head of his campaign headquarters, Claude Guéhanu, three suitcases with cash worth € 5 million. Now, in an interview with BFM and Paris Match, he stated that “he never gave 5 million for the campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy ”.
Such a dramatic change in the position of Ziad Takieddin is easily explained. The French investigation no longer has power over him.
He was detained at customs in the spring of 2011 while trying to smuggle € 1.5 million into France, and was subsequently charged in the so-called "Karachi case" of brokering bribes and illegal rewards in the 1994 sale of French submarines to Pakistan. In June 2020, he was sentenced to five years in prison for this, but managed to escape and is now in Lebanon. Feeling safe, he attacked one of the investigating judges, Sarkozy's stubborn pursuer Serge Turner. He tried to "force me to assert things that completely contradicted my words ... There was no funding for Sarkozy's presidential campaign," says Ziad Takieddin.
“The truth is finally revealed. For seven and a half years, the investigation has not found the slightest evidence of any illegal funding, ”Nicolas Sarkozy responded to his Facebook interview.
To whom were the suitcases of Libyan money intended, if they existed in reality? The witness has an answer to this: All I did was give € 5 million in cash to Claude Guéhan in accordance with the terms of the contract between France and Libya. According to him, the contract was secret, because "it concerned computer security and involved training Libyan computer scientists in France."
Claude Guéhan, head of Sarkozy's campaign headquarters, then secretary general of the Elysee Palace and minister of the interior, has been suspected of many frauds in recent years. For example, he became accused in a case of illegal bonus payments in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and was sentenced on appeal in 2019 to two years in prison (of which a year was suspended). It seems that they are not going to defend him in this case. But the investigation is unable to establish a direct connection between Mr. Gaean and his leader Sarkozy in the saga with "Gaddafi's suitcases."
The story of illegal campaign finance was reported by Ziad Takieddin in March 2012 by journalists from the French agency Mediapart, known for its investigations. It occupies positions on the left flank of the French press, and no doubt acted both out of a commitment to independent journalism and to successfully torpedo Nicolas Sarkozy's new election campaign. In the elections on May 6, 2012, he lost the presidential election to socialist François Hollande.
Now it is obvious that the investigation has no irrefutable evidence of the former president's guilt. French journalists are in no hurry, however, to remove suspicions from him based only on an interview with a French-Lebanese schemer, who, according to observers, usually “lies as he breathes”.
But by questioning his current claims, investigators inevitably create distrust of his 2012 first revelations. He repeated them both in 2016 and in 2018, and now he also publicly refuses them. “The chief prosecutor admits his lie. The investigation, based only on the statements of Ziad Takieddin, is now at a complete dead end, "Nicolas Sarkozy congratulates himself.