Probe opened into alleged Libya finance of Sarkozy campaign

 PARIS, April 19, 2013 (AFP)

French prosecutors on Friday opened a probe into allegations the Libyan regime contributed to the 2007 campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy, who went on to become president, a judicial source said.

The probe — the latest in a string of allegations relating to Sarkozy’s years in office and electoral campaigns — is looking into charges of “active and passive corruption”, “influence peddling” and others, the source added.

It follows several, separate claims that the Libyans financed Sarkozy’s electoral campaign — all of which have been denied by the former French president.

In December, Franco-Libyan businessman Ziad Takieddine alleged he had proof of the financing.

And in April last year, investigative news website Mediapart published what it said was evidence that Moamer Kadhafi’s regime contributed 50 million euros ($65.5 million) to the campaign.

Sarkozy is pursuing a defamation suit against Mediapart — which uncovered the current tax fraud scandal rocking Francois Hollande’s government — over its reporting of the allegations.

The Libyan claims are just one of the allegations against Sarkozy, who lost his immunity from prosecution after losing the election to Hollande last year.

Last month, he was charged with taking financial advantage of France’s richest woman as part of a probe into illegal party funding, an event that sent shockwaves through France’s political circles.

He is also at the centre of a probe into whether he misused public funds to pay for opinion polls while in office.

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