French magistrates have ordered former president Nicolas Sarkozy and 12 others to go on trial on costs that his 2007 presidential campaign obtained hundreds of thousands in unlawful financing from the federal government of the late Libyan chief Muammar Gaddafi.
The nationwide monetary prosecutor, Jean-Francois Bohnert, introduced that the decade-long investigation has been formally closed. The trial will run from January to April 2025, the assertion mentioned.
The case is the most important of a number of corruption investigations involving Sarkozy. He has been convicted in two others. He denies wrongdoing in all circumstances.
Within the Libya case, he’s charged with unlawful campaign financing, embezzling, passive corruption and associated counts. Sarkozy has been underneath investigation within the Libya case since 2013. Investigators examined claims that Gaddafi’s authorities secretly gave Sarkozy 50 million euros (£42 million) for his profitable 2007 campaign.
The sum can be greater than double the authorized campaign funding restrict on the time and would violate French guidelines in opposition to overseas campaign financing.
The investigation gained traction when French-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine instructed information website Mediapart in 2016 that he had delivered suitcases from Libya containing 5 million euros (£4.2 million) in money to Sarkozy and his former chief of employees. Takieddine later reversed course and Sarkozy sought to have the investigation closed.
In Might, the Nationwide Monetary Prosecutor’s Workplace (PNF) demanded that Sarkozy be tried, citing costs in opposition to him of “concealment of laundering public funds, passive corruption, unlawful campaign financing and felony conspiracy with a view to committing against the law punishable by 10 years in jail”. Investigating magistrates, who had the final phrase, gave the go-ahead for a trial, the PNF mentioned.
After turning into president in 2007, Sarkozy welcomed Gaddafi to France with excessive honours later that yr. Sarkozy then put France on the forefront of Nato-led air strikes that helped insurgent fighters topple Gaddafi’s authorities in 2011.
In an unrelated case, Sarkozy was sentenced to a yr underneath home arrest for unlawful campaign financing of his unsuccessful 2012 re-election bid. He’s free whereas the case is pending enchantment.
He was additionally discovered responsible of corruption and affect peddling in one other case and sentenced to a yr underneath home arrest in an appeals trial in Might this yr. He took the case to France’s highest courtroom, which suspended the sentence.