by George Grant, Paris, 29 April:
New evidence emerged yesterday alleging that Muammar Qaddafi agreed to fund the French presidential campaign . . .[restrict]of Nicholas Sarkozy with donation of €50 million.
The claims, published by the anti-Sarkozy investigative website Mediapart, are contained within an “official Libyan” document dated 20 December 2006.
Mediapart whch made similar allegations on 12 March 2012, was yesterday claiming that this latest note offered “proof” that an agreement to make the donation was reached by Qaddafi officials and associates of Sarkozy, following a meeting on 6 October 2005.
According to the document, the meeting was attended by Qaddafi’s then spy-chief Abdullah Senussi, the head of Tripoli’s African investment fund Bashir Saleh, close Sarkozy associate Brice Hortefeux, and arms dealer Ziad Takieddine.
At the meeting, an agreement to fund the campaign was allegedly reached “in principle”, although it was not stated whether any money was actually handed over.
Yesterday, Sarkozy’s spokeswoman Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet denounced the allegations as “ridiculous”. She insisted that all Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign funds had been cleared by the Constitutional Council after the elections, with no queries.
However, Bernard Cazaneuve, spokesman of the current French presidential contender Francois Hollande, called on Sarkozy to “explain himself to the French in the face of such serious elements backed up by new documents emanating from the entourage of the Libyan dictator himself”.
If true, the allegations would represent a serious embarrassment for Sarkozy, who, along with British prime minister David Cameron, led the international community in supporting the anti-Qaddafi revolution last year.
However, the allegations are not widely believed here in Libya, and there is suspicion that the claims were fabricated by former Qaddafi officials seeking to embarrass Sarkozy, and then disseminated by the French president’s opponents in France.
Mediapart said that it had received the document from “former senior officials now in hiding.”
When the allegations first surfaced back in March, Sarkozy branded them as “grotesque” adding that if Qaddafi had financed his campaign, his role in last year’s revolution showed he “wasn’t very grateful”. [/restrict]