Business with Gaddafi brought trouble on Sarkozy
The ex-president of France and his closest assistant are interrogated by investigators. Nicolas Sarkozy will remain in custody for a minimum of two days, after which he may be charged with "the Libyan affaire"
The former French president and one of the most experienced French politicians, Nicolas Sarkozy, was imprisoned, temporarily, but not for the first time in his biography. However, within the framework of the "Libyan case", which he used to pass before as a witness, it happened for the first time and probably indicates that specific evidence has appeared against the ex-president. This is a five-year-old investigation into the possible financing of the former Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi, once a friend of Sarkozy, his 2007 election campaign. According to the mediator, Gaddafi donated at least five million euros, transferred in several suitcases from Libya and delivered directly to The French Ministry of the Interior, which was then run by Sarkozy.
Until recently, these were only testimonies, but now the new Libyan authorities began to cooperate with the French in the investigation of this dirty story. Dirty not even because someone financed someone else's election (because politics - is always a dirty business). And in the light of the future fate of the "financier", since Sarkozy, despite his friendly relations with Gaddafi, was ultimately among those who condemned him to death, sanctioned the widest possible participation in the French "regime change" in Libya.
Critics of the ex-president long ago, but unfoundedly claimed that he went to this, to "write off" debts to the crazy Libyan dictator and at the same time to eliminate such an undesirable witness. But all this is a suspicion and a hypothesis, which must either be proved or disproved, which is now being investigated.
Is it political?
It can not be ruled out that there are political motives in this matter. Discrediting one of the most prominent right-wing politicians and, accordingly, his party Republicans, whose new leader Laurent Vauquieux is in friendly relations with Sarkozy, is beneficial to many. First of all, those who occupy positions on the left - the centrists and their president Emmanuel Macron. Theoretically also to those on the right and trying to become more recently a more "respectable" face of French politics - the "National Front" Marín Le Pen, in order to win over more mainstream right-wingers. However, this persecuted party establishment has no close influence on the law enforcement and legal system that the ruling circles have, so it is almost unbelievable.
Can he dodge again?
Today and tomorrow Sarkozy will stay in the premises of the judicial police in Nanterre near Paris. Also, his closest assistant, Brice Ortefö, who occupied a number of ministerial posts under the ex-president, is being interrogated. One of two: This procedure will end for Sarkozy by presenting specific charges or he will be released. The former president has many good lawyers, he is clever and cunning and in the past invariably avoided the dangers that threatened him. For the first time, the issue of Gaddafi's financing of Sarkozy's election campaign was made public in March 2011, when the son of the brutally murdered Libyan leader Seif al-Islam, in an interview with the Euronews television channel, demanded that Paris recognize Sarkozy's financial assistance from his father. The ex-president, of course, denies that this happened.
The French media, however, are convinced of the opposite and call the much larger amounts allegedly received by Sarkozy from Gaddafi. So, in 2012, Mediapart published certain documents that referred to the transfer of Libya to the needs of the presidential campaign of Sarkozy 50 million euros. In 2016, in this case, a businessman of French-Lebanese origin Ziad Tadiddin was questioned. He showed that in late 2006 and early 2007 he was delivering from Libya directly to the French Ministry of Internal Affairs, which was headed by Sarkozy, suitcases with cash worth five million euros. A new moment since then was the fact that the new Libyan authorities were interested in this issue and, as the French press reported, handed over some documents to Paris. So Sarkozy, although not a beginner in such cases, will now have to sweat with his lawyers, and this time to get out.
Beating primarily on the "Republicans" loud trial is beneficial, we repeat, first of all, the current government. President Macron's popularity declined markedly from the end of last year: half of the French, according to polls, are strongly opposed to him. But if Macron succeeds in imprisoning the "untouchable" French politician, his popularity will increase noticeably. And he needs it on the eve of the radical reforms of the European Union that he has developed, which France intends to carry out with the support of Germany, where, after the failure of the September elections in the Bundestag, a fully-fledged government finally emerged. Any reforms - is to cut through the living. To decide on them, Macron needs an additional supply of political strength. And Sarkozy can help him in this.
Although, perhaps, everything is much simpler. The investigators received papers incriminating Sarkozy and without any warning from the authorities started to fulfill their duties. Sarkozy hung a lot of court cases. But he successfully fought back. He was accused of receiving funds from Gaddafi, quite significant, for the election campaign. All charges were based on statements of the son of Gaddafi and his former intelligence chief. So far, no material evidence of this was. But the fact that Sarkozy's status as a witness has been replaced, apparently, by a suspect, and in this case a temporary arrest takes place, suggests that some materials have appeared on him.