French President Nicolas Sarkozy received £42m to fund his election from former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, it was claimed today.
Published on investigative website Mediapart, a governmental briefing note refers to several visits to Libya by Sarkozy's election team.
The documents make specific reference to Ziad Takieddine, a middle man in huge arms and petrol contracts between France and various Middle Eastern countries.
It is claimed Takieddine went to Tripoli 11 times to supervise the transaction in 2005, “the year where a payment of €50m (£42m) would have been concluded between the Libyans and Sarkozy camp.”
It also claims Brice Hortefeux, Sarkozy’s long time friend, advisor, and later interior minister, “intervened personally” in the financial operations. According to Mediapart, Hortefeux has denied any involvement in the events.
Mediapart said the document was “drafted and handed over to investigators by a witness to the dossier, Jean-Charles Brisard, ex member of (former prime minister) Eduard Balladur’s campaign team in 1995, now director of a private intelligence company.”
Contacted by Mediapart, spokesmen for the Elysee Palace and Takieddine declined to comment.
Links between the Gaddafi regime and Sarkozy’s poll campaign have been alleged for some time, with Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam initially making the claims in an interview on Euronews TV in March last year.
He said: “We funded it and we have all the details and are ready to reveal everything.”
He added: “Sarkozy has to give back the money that he accepted from Libya for funding his electoral campaign. We financed his campaign and we have the proof. We are ready to reveal all”.
A spokesman for the Elysee Palace denied Sarkozy had received any funding from the Libyan regime.
He told Le Monde: “We deny it, quite evidently.”
Gaddafi was killed in October last year following the capture of his hometown of Sirte.