Mediapart and Sarkozy Campaign Allegations Reignited

Former President Nicolas Sarkozy. Photo: Flickr.com/Guillaume Paumier

Former President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Photo: Flickr.com/Guillaume Paumier

An article published on December 12 in the French Vanity Fair has resurfaced issues in the ongoing investigation into an alleged donation Nicolas Sarkozy received from the Libyan dictatorship during his 2007 presidential campaign.

In March and April of 2012, French online investigative journal Mediapart published a document stating that former president Nicolas Sarkozy had received donations from Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi between the two rounds of his 2007 presidential campaign.  The articles published by Mediapart point to the instance of a meeting in Tripoli on October 6, 2006 between future French interior minister Brice Hortefeux and an intermediary, Takieddine, who negotiated payments eventually made by Bashir Saleh, then head of the Libyan African Portfolio (LAP).

A subsequent text signed by Moussa Koussa, then head of Libya’s foreign intelligence services, published December 10, 2006 relayed the decision of the Libyan regime to pay €52 million euros to Sarkozy’s campaign.

In response to these claims, Sarkozy filed a complaint against Mediapart on April 30, 2012, prompting a preliminary investigation into Mediapart’s use of “forgery” and “publishing false news.”  Mediapart responded in kind, arguing that the complaint is “infringing the right of the press to protect a fundamental freedom of citizens who have the right to know.”

Sarkozy has denied any involvement with the donations, noting specifically that he had filed complaints of “forgery” and not “defamation,” signifying that whether libel or not, the key matter remains that the documents are false.

Both Koussa and Saleh deny their participation in these alleged events, saying that no such meeting was ever held.  Mediapart has denied these claims, saying that both men have an incentive to be favorable witnesses, as they could benefit greatly from “secret French protections.”  Saleh, who is wanted by an Interpol warrant, had been living in France until early 2012.

Former Minister Brice Hortefeux has shown documentation that he was in Auvergne on the date of the stated meeting, a statement police have claimed to be true after investigation of the flight records from nearby Clermont-Ferrand airport.

The French authorities have requested the assistance of the authorities of Qatar in order to continue their investigation, hoping to be able to further question Moussa Koussa.

One of Mediapart’s chief editors, Edey Plenel, has since published an op-ed defending their position and maintaining that the documents are authentic.

Trackbacks

  1. […] An article published in French Vanity Fair has resurfaced issues in the ongoing investigation into an alleged donation Nicolas Sarkozy received from the Libyan dictatorship during his 2007 presidential campaign. In March and April of 2012, French online investigative journal Mediapart published a document stating that former president Nicolas Sarkozy had received donations from Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi between the two rounds of his 2007 presidential campaign. In response to these claims, Sarkozy filed a complaint against Mediapart on April 30, 2012, prompting a preliminary investigation into Mediapart’s use of “forgery” and “publishing false news.” Read more about the Mediapart vs. Sarkozy lawsuit. […]

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