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6 Apr, 2018 11:15

‘Gaddafi told me he donated €20mn to Sarkozy campaign’ – ex-Libyan leader’s aide

Speaking to RT, a trusted adviser to Muammar Gaddafi shed light on how the late Libyan leader allegedly funneled €20 million to support the election campaign of his “friend” Nicolas Sarkozy, who became French president in 2007.

Moftah Missouri, a former interpreter and trusted aide to Gaddafi, exclusively told RT the Libyan strongman had once confessed to him that he had donated €20 million (US$24 million) to fund Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidential bid. Sarkozy reportedly first told Gaddafi of his ambitions of entering the Elysee Palace while on a visit to Libya in 2005, and the colonel welcomed the news, Missouri said.

“At the end of his visit, he met the leader of the Libyan revolution [Gaddafi]… the meeting lasted about 45 minutes,” the former Gaddafi adviser added. When Sarkozy said he was intending to run for the presidency, the Libyan leader replied by saying that it was good news, noting “it would be good if a friend of Libya and a friend of him [Gaddafi] becomes president of France,” Missouri added.

The late leader promised to render “all kind of support and assistance” to the French politician, and it came shortly after he announced his candidacy, the former aide claimed. His campaign officials met with Libyan counterparts, and the two sides reportedly came up with a document – named after Bashir Saleh, one of Libya’s negotiators – that requested €50 million ($61 million) as a donation to support Sarkozy’s bid.

“This document was sent to then Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa, and he forwarded it to the Libyan leader’s office,” Missouri said. Gaddafi looked through the paper and ordered that the sum be reduced by more than a half, to €20 million, he added.

While Missouri did not witness the money transfer, he said Gaddafi acknowledged it in one of their conversations. “He told me once: ‘I donated 20 million.’”

It is likely that the donation was paid in cash to bypass bank transfer systems, Missouri said, as Gaddafi had his own fund for such situations. “I can’t remember any instance when a transfer from [Gaddafi’s fund] was made through a bank,” Missouri revealed. “I know there is a ‘suitcase option’ for those requesting aid,” he added. Likewise, no Libyan bank had ever made transfers to Sarkozy campaign from inside Libya, said the former adviser.

The explosive claims come on the back of an investigation into the allegations that Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign was partially funded by Gaddafi. On March 20, he was taken into police custody to be questioned by officers dealing with corruption, money laundering and tax evasion cases. 

According to media reports, Sarkozy was indicted on March 21 for receiving illicit financing, but there is no official confirmation of this so far.

Claims that Sarkozy received cash from Gaddafi first surfaced in 2012, when investigative website Mediapart published a paper allegedly signed by a senior Libyan figure, stating Tripoli sanctioned a payment of €50 million to support Sarkozy’s bid for the presidency. Sarkozy accused the media outlet of slander and dismissed the claims as “grotesque.

Gaddafi himself said in a 2011 interview that “it’s me who made him [Sarkozy] president.” The late leader was speaking in Tripoli in mid-March of that year, just a few days before the first Western airstrikes that led to his downfall and killing by militants in October 2011. From the outset of the Libyan civil war, France recognized anti-government militias and took part in the NATO-led bombing campaign against Gaddafi’s forces.

Five years later, in November 2016, Ziad Takieddine, a Franco-Lebanese businessman who reportedly introduced Sarkozy to Gaddafi, told Mediapart he had brought several suitcases containing €5 million in Libyan money to the French Interior Ministry in late 2006 and early 2007. “It was a case like that. It opened like this. And the money was inside,” Takieddine said at the time.

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