Nicolas Sarkozy indicted for the fourth time in the case of the Libyan financing of his campaign
Former President of the Republic Nicolas Sarkozy was indicted for “criminal association” as part of the investigation into the financing of his 2007 electoral campaign, the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) announced on Friday October 16, confirming information from Mediapart.
At the end of four days of hearing and an interrogation-river of more than forty hours ended Monday evening, Nicolas Sarkozy was indicted for a fourth time in this case, instructed by the investigating judges Aude Buresi and Marc Sommerer, who succeeded Serge Tournaire. He has also been implicated, since March 2018, for “corruption”, “concealment of embezzlement of public funds [libyens] And “illicit campaign financing” and placed under judicial control.
By a supplementary indictment signed at the end of January, the PNF had broadened the investigations to these facts of “criminal association”, opening the way to the indictments of new suspects as well as to an aggravation of the prosecutions against the protagonists already involved, including M. Sarkozy.
Appeal in cassation
On January 31, the magistrates indicted for “criminal association” one of the former collaborators of Mr. Sarkozy, Thierry Gaubert, suspected of having received funds from the Libyan regime which could have fueled the campaign for the presidential election in 2007. At his last hearing in June 2019, Mr. Sarkozy said he was “Totally innocent in this matter”, denounced a “Plot”, then refused to answer the questions of the investigating magistrates, the time of the examination of appeal aimed at canceling the investigation.
But a judgment of the Paris Court of Appeal of September 24 made it possible to relaunch the investigation: the investigating chamber, responsible for studying appeals against investigative acts, rejected most of the arguments of the camp Sarkozy, which invoked nullities against these investigations. It has thus almost entirely validated the investigations launched eight years ago in this case with multiple ramifications.
Mr. Sarkozy appealed against this decision, just like Eric Woerth, Claude Guéant and Alexandre Djouhri, said a judicial source.
“Innocence flouted again”
The former head of state on Friday expressed his “Amazement” and estimated his “Innocence flouted again” : “I learned of this new indictment with the greatest amazement (…). My innocence is again violated by a decision which does not yield the slightest proof of any illicit financing ”, he said in a post on Facebook.
“Everyone can see that this is an unprecedented decision in line with the investigations carried out. The procedure is ongoing ”, for his part reacted Vincent Brengarth, the lawyer of the anti-corruption association Sherpa, civil party in this case.
The investigation was opened after publication by Mediapart, in 2012, between the two rounds of the presidential election, of a document supposed to prove that the victorious campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy had been financed by the regime of Muammar Gadhafi.
Testimonies from Libyan dignitaries, notes from the Tripoli secret services, accusations of an intermediary … In seven years of work, the magistrates have gathered a sum of disturbing clues which gave substance to the thesis according to which the campaign of Mr. Sarkozy had was funded by the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. However, no indisputable material evidence has yet been found, even though suspicious movements of funds have led to nine indictments to date.
In November 2016, the businessman Ziad Takieddine – one of the indicted in this case and on the run since his conviction in June in the financial aspect of the Karachi case – had claimed to have surrendered between late 2006 and early 2007 5 million euros to Mr Sarkozy, then Minister of the Interior, and his chief of staff, Claude Guéant.
Judged in November and March
In addition to this case, in which the investigations are still ongoing, the former head of state is to be tried from November 23 to December 10 for “corruption” in the so-called “eavesdropping” case: he is suspected of having tried, with his lawyer Thierry Herzog, to obtain from a high magistrate, Gilbert Azibert, information covered by secrecy in legal proceedings.
Mr. Sarkozy must also be tried from March 17 to April 15, 2021 for the illegal financing of his other presidential campaign, that of 2012, as part of the Bygmalion affair: he is accused of exceeding the campaign spending limit.