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Libyan funds Swiss court may advance Sarkozy campaign investigation

Sarkozy, who served as president of France from 2007 to 2012, has always denied claims of Libyan funding.

(Keystone)

Switzerland’s Federal Criminal Court could aid an investigation into the financing of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s campaign in 2007. The matter focuses on the sale of a villa at an overvalued price.

In a February 4 decision, which was made public on Tuesday, the Federal Criminal Court rejected an appeal against the transmission of documents gathered in Switzerland at the request of the High Court of Paris. This evidence has established with certainty the existence of bank transactions, which until now had only been suspected.

In its judgement the Swiss court, based in Bellinzona, canton Ticino, authorised the transmission of documents that report the sale of a villa by the Libyan government through two companies in France.

The court conformed that “this contract was made in order to divert funds, with the price paid by the second entity to the first having been knowingly overvalued”. The manoeuvre “could a priori fall under the category of unfair management”.

The Federal Criminal Court reported “several financial flows” including a payment of €10.1 million (CHF 11.1 million) – the price paid for the villa, according to various media estimates.

These transactions were made only two months after the contract for the house was signed.

The Swiss judges said that the evidence has “potential utility” for French justice. Paris investigators are looking into the possible Swiss ramifications of the payments of the Gaddafi regime to finance Sarkozy’s presidential campaign.

In April 2013, the Paris Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation into allegations by French-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine, who claimed he had proof of Libya’s financing of Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign.

The information relates to “bribery and corruption”, “influence-peddling”, “forgery”, “abuse of company assets”, “money laundering, complicity and concealment of offenses”.

Sarkozy has always denied Takieddine’s claims.  

swissinfo.ch

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