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Nicolas Sarkozy to Face Trial for Alleged Libya Financing of 2007 Presidential Campaign

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and 12 others have been ordered to stand trial on charges that his 2007 presidential campaign received illegal financing from the late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s government. The trial is set to take place from January to April 2025, following the closure of the decade-long investigation by the national financial prosecutor.

This case is the largest and most significant among the various corruption investigations involving Sarkozy, who has already been convicted in two other cases. However, he vehemently denies any wrongdoing in all the accusations against him. In regard to the alleged Libya financing, Sarkozy is facing charges of illegal campaign financing, embezzlement, passive corruption, and related counts.

The investigation into Sarkozy’s involvement with the Libyan government’s financial contributions began in 2013. It centers around claims that Gadhafi’s regime secretly provided Sarkozy with 50 million euros for his successful 2007 campaign, exceeding the legal campaign funding limit and violating French regulations against foreign campaign financing. In 2016, businessman Ziad Takieddine stated to news site Mediapart that he delivered suitcases filled with 5 million euros ($6.2 million) in cash from Libya to Sarkozy and his former chief of staff, although he later recanted his statement. Despite Sarkozy’s attempts to close the investigation, it continued to progress.

It is interesting to note that while he was president in 2007, Sarkozy welcomed Gadhafi to France and played a prominent role in NATO-led airstrikes that aided rebel forces in overthrowing the Libyan government in 2011.

In a separate case, Sarkozy has already been sentenced to a year of house arrest for illegal campaign financing during his unsuccessful 2012 reelection bid. However, he is currently free as the case is under appeal. He has also been found guilty of corruption and influence peddling in another trial, resulting in a year of house arrest, though the sentence was later suspended by France’s highest court.

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