Sarkozy faces up to 10 years in prison over Libya funding

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy
 
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy told magistrates that accusations of illicit Libyan funding for his 2007 election campaign were a web of lies that had made his life “hell” and lost him a re-election bid in 2012, Le Figaro newspaper said.
 
The 63-year-old, who held power from 2007 to 2012, was told by investigators after two days of questioning in police custody on Wednesday he was formally suspected of passive corruption, an offense that carries a sentence of up to 10 years in jail.
 
At issue is a murky affair of Libyan spies, arms dealers and allegations that late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi provided Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign with millions of euros shipped to Paris in suitcases – allegations Sarkozy has always denied.
 
The newspaper published a lengthy account of what it said was a verbatim declaration by Sarkozy.
 
“This calumny has made my life a living hell since March 11, 2011,” he states, according to the newspaper.
 
“I’ve paid a heavy price for this affair. Put it this way: I lost the presidential election of 2012 by 1.5 percentage points. The controversy initiated by Gaddafi and his henchmen cost me that 1.5 percent”.
 
Sarkozy, who came under fire for giving Gaddafi a red-carpet reception in Paris in late 2007, said his problems began in March 2011 after he hosted Libyan rebels and went on to become one of the main advocates of a NATO-led campaign that resulted in the dictator’s overthrow and killing by rebels in 2011.
 
He also denounced what he described as lies from one of his main accusers, a Franco-Lebanese businessman who has described himself among other things as a “middleman in the shadows” on liaison between Paris and Libyan secret service chiefs.
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