Nicolas Sarkozy, the former president of France, is being held by the police in connection with an alleged campaign funding from Muammar Gaddafi, the late Libyan dictator.
A source from the French court informed Reuters that Sarkozy is being investigated as part of a probe into “irregularities” in the financing of the election campaign.
Sarkozy is said to have accepted €50m from the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, claims which have been reiterated by Ziad Takieddine, a French businessman and the son of the late Libyan dictator.
The said amount would be more than double the limit of legal spending during the elections in France at that time, which was at €21m.
The alleged payments would also violate the laws of France on foreign financing and the declaration of the source of the campaign funds.
Sarkozy and his campaign manager have dismissed allegations of accepting money from Libya repeatedly.
According to Le Monde, this is the first time that Sarkozy has been investigated in relation to the said investigation, which was launched way back in April 2013.
He can be held for a maximum of 48 hours and presented to the court of the magistrates for charges if the police seek charges.
Sarkozy has already been ordered to stand in trial for a separate case. The said case concerns the financing of his re-election campaign in 2012 when he lost to Francois Hollande.
In March 2011, Euronews was informed by the son of the late dictator, Saif al Islam Gaddafi: “Sarkozy has to give back the money he accepted from Libya to finance his electoral campaign. We financed his campaign and we have the proof…
“The first thing we’re demanding is that this clown gives back the money to the Libyan people.”
Takieddine claims that he delivered three suitcases that are stuffed with money to Paris between the period of 2006 and 2007, and handed them over to Sarkozy in the interior ministry when he was still serving as a minister.
Sarkozy was the president of France from 2007 until 2012.
He tried to stage a comeback for the election in 2017. However, he failed to convince the voters in his own party to support his candidacy and had to concede to Alain Juppe and Francois Fillon.
Sarkozy faced accusations of exploiting Liliane Bettencourt, the L’Oreal heiress, taking advantage of her “mental fragility” to solicit a donation to his political party for the election in 2007. However, the case against him was dropped.
He had a laden relationship with Colonel Gaddafi during his term as president. He welcomed the dictator of Libya to Paris early on in his tenure. However, he placed France at the forefront of Nato-led air strikes that helped in toppling his regime in 2011.