France’s ex-leader to be trialled over alleged Libya campaign financing

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy will stand trial in 2025 for alleged acceptance of money from the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to finance one of his election campaigns, prosecutors say.

The trial, disclosed by prosecutors on Friday, will examine allegations that Sarkozy, along with 12 co-defendants, engaged in a conspiracy to receive funds from the Libyan leader to unlawfully finance his successful 2007 presidential campaign.

Sarkozy, who has encountered numerous legal challenges following his single term in office, has refuted the Libyan accusations, which are among the most serious he faced.

The 68-year-old has previously been found guilty on two occasions – once for corruption and influence-peddling linked to efforts to sway a judge and another for surpassing campaign expenditure limits during his 2012 re-election campaign. Sarkozy has appealed against both judgements.

The investigation started following revelations from the investigative website Mediapart. The website published a document claiming that Gaddafi had consented to provide Sarkozy with as much as 50 million euros ($54 m).

Interestingly, the two leaders maintained relatively friendly relations, with Sarkozy permitting Gaddafi to set up his Bedouin tent across from the Elysee Palace during a state visit to France just a few months after Sarkozy’s election.

Sarkozy faces a separate investigation into potential influence peddling after he received a payment from the Russian insurance firm Reso-Garantia of 3 million euros ($3.2m) in 2019 while working as a consultant.

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