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Sarkozy faces new charges in connection with Libyan financing of his campaign

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Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was charged on September 6 in a case of falsifying witness testimony related to an investigation into Libyan financing of his 2007 presidential campaign, reports BFMTV And Le Figaro.

Sarkozy has been questioned for 30 hours since Tuesday by two investigators as part of an investigation into possible fraudulent schemes that could be used to clear him of suspicions of Libyan financing of his presidential campaign. As a result, he was charged with concealing witness tampering and conspiracy to commit judicial fraud.

An investigation into the case was launched in May 2021 following an interview with businessman and alleged Sarkozy campaign finance broker Ziyad Takieddine, who said the ex-president’s campaign never received Libyan funding. As BFMTV notes, this contradicts past statements by Takieddine, in which he spoke of transferring three suitcases of Libyan money totaling 5 million euros to Sarkozy. Because of these statements, a criminal case has been opened against Sarkozy and a dozen other defendants, the trial is expected to take place in 2025.

The filing of charges means, the media note, that the investigation has evidence that the former president, when interacting with at least nine other defendants, could put pressure on the witness.

In March 2021, a court in Paris found Sarkozy guilty of corruption and influence peddling in a wiretapping case and sentenced him to one year in prison and two years of suspended imprisonment. In May 2023, the appeal court approved a decision according to which Sarkozy would serve one year of his sentence not in prison, but at home – with an electronic bracelet.

Sarkozy was found guilty of helping ex-constitutional court judge Gilbert Azibert gain a position in Monaco in exchange for information about an investigation into the illegal receipt of funds for his 2007 presidential campaign. A lawyer played a mediating role in this case between Sarkozy and Azibert former President Thierry Herzog. Aziber and Herzog were sentenced to similar terms.

In September 2021, Sarkozy was also sentenced to a year of restriction of freedom in the so-called “Bygmalion case” of illegal financing of the election campaign in 2012 – actually exceeding the legal spending threshold of 22.5 million euros.

Sarkozy was the leader of France from 2007 to 2012. He became the second president in the country’s history to be convicted, and the first to receive a real prison sentence. In 2011, former French President Jacques Chirac was sentenced to two years’ probation in a case involving the creation of fictitious jobs in the Paris City Hall between 1990 and 1995, when he was mayor of Paris.

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