An investigative website in France called Mediapart claims thatNicolas Sarkozy received campaign funds from Muammar Gaddafi, the former leader of Libya. This isn’t the first time that there have been questions raised about Gaddafi’s financial support of Sarkozy’s campaign. Last year, Saif al-Islam, Gaddafi’s son, demanded that Sarkozy return money paid to his campaign fund after the French presidentled the war against Gaddafi.
Fabrice Arfi, who is a journalist with Mediapart, allegedly spoke with Britain’s The Guardian. Arfi told the newspaper that he saw a document that suggested Gaddafi sent $65 million to Sarkozy in order to help finance his2007 presidential campaign. Saif al-Islam has threatened to provide the details of the bank transfer unless Sarkozy returned the money. Saif is currently being held in Libya after his father was ousted from power and killed last year.
Arfi maintains that the documents he saw contain details about the financial transactions, as well as visits that Sarkozy allegedly made to Libya. There are also claims that close advisors and colleagues of Sarkozy travelled to Libya, as well.
It wasn’t too long after Sarkozy won the 2007 presidential elections in France that Gaddafi traveled toParis and put up his Bedouin tent on the grounds of a residence close to the Elysee Palace. The French media and some government officials described Gaddafi then as the “Brother Leader.”
Saif’s claims have been vigorously denied by Sarkozy and his staff, as well as other French officials. A spokesman for Elysee Palace has said of the allegations, “We deny it, quite evidently.”
The allegations come at a difficult time for Sarkozy, as he is trying to build support for re-election as France’s president. The polls show Sarkozy is trailing behind his opponent, Hollande, in the second round of the elections. However, he does have a small lead in the first election now, according to the polls.