French tycoon linked to Gaddafi-Sarkozy 2007 elections funding arrested in Britain

Alexandre Djouhri, the subject of a European arrest warrant, was apprehended at Heathrow airport on Sunday (Photo: Le Monde)

UK police have detained a French businessman as part of a long-running investigation into suspected Libyan financing of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign, officials said yesterday.

Alexandre Djouhri, the subject of a European arrest warrant, was apprehended at Heathrow airport on Sunday and remanded in custody after a hearing at the Westminster magistrate’s court yesterday.

A spokesman for London’s Metropolitan Police confirmed Djouhri’s arrest “under a European arrest warrant”.

“The warrant was issued by French authorities for offences of fraud and money laundering,” the spokesman added.

A court official said Djouhri would remain in custody at least until another court appearance tomorrow, at which “he could be released on bail or could be kept in prison”, pending a formal extradition hearing.

Djouhri, a 58-year-old Swiss resident, has been a focus of the inquiry, opened in 2013 by judges investigating claims by former Libyan ruler Moamer Kadhafi and his son, Seif al-Islam, that they provided funds for Sarkozy’s election effort.

But Djouhri, well known among France’s right-wing political establishment and a close associate of Sarkozy, has refused to respond to summons for questioning in Paris. His lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.

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