A recent article in Le Monde casts some grey shadows over how the former French president – tipped by many for a comeback – helped finance his assault on the Elysee Palace with the help of cash from the late Colonel Ghadafy
Tunisian solicitor Mohamed Baccar was questioned by police at the end of October as part of an inquiry into accusations of financing by the Ghadafy regime of Nicolas Sarkozy’s successful presidential campaign of 2007.
This was confirmed to Le Monde by “a source close to the case”, as well as by Baccar himself, who said that during the interview last month, reference was made to an appearance before the Court of Appeal in Tunis regarding the requested extradition to Libya from Tunisia of the former Ghadafy prime minister Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi.
“Within the limits of client privilege,” the Tunisian lawyer said that at the extradition hearing on the 25th of October 2011 in Tunis, Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi “replied in the affirmative” to the question as to whether or not he was aware of a secret financing operation of the Nicolas Sarkozy presidential campaign.
Baccar’s assertion is backed up by the official report of the hearing, which was seen and authenticated last week by French television station M6.
That this official report of the hearing should show up now is highly significant. French investigators had been looking for it and without it, the notion of the Ghadafy regime giving money to Sarkozy’s election campaign had been mere speculation.
For his part, the former Ghadafy right-hand-man is not saying anything. Having been successfully extradited back home from Tunisia, Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi is currently in prison. If he ever does decide to sing, there may well be serious implications for any hope that Sarkozy might have of regaining the French presidency. This story raised its head about a week before the conclusive second round of the 2012 presidential race (which Sarkozy lost to Hollande) , when the French news website Mediapart published a document attributed to a “former Libyan dignitary” asserting that Tripoli had accepted to bankroll Sarkozy’s ’07 campaign to the tune of €50 million.