Published: Sat, March 24, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

French police free Nicolas Sarkozy after questioning

French police free Nicolas Sarkozy after questioning

The two people spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Mr Sarkozy's claims emerged after he was charged with corruption and illegal campaign financing following a long-running inquiry into alleged Libyan backing for his successful run for the presidency in 2007.

Sarkozy's conservative Les Republicains party made no immediate comment after he was placed under formal investigation.

The judicial authorities say Sarkozy has denied all allegations. He is suspected of receiving millions of euros from the Libyan leader.

The combative one-term president, who served from 2007-2012, was charged with corruption, illegal campaign financing and concealment of Libyan public money, the source added.

Hortefeux said on Twitter that the precisions he gave to investigators "should help put an end to a series of mistakes and lies".

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, greets Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi upon his arrival at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Dec. 10, 2007.

But in 2011, France and Britain took a lead role in a NATO-led campaign that helped rebels topple Gadhafi and, in October that year, kill the man who had ruled Libya, often brutally, since 1969.

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A document written in Arabic and signed by Col Gaddafi's intelligence chief Moussa Koussa refers to an agreement to support the campaign for the candidate for the presidential elections, Nicolas Sarkozy, for a sum equivalent to €50 million.

Sarkozy's lawyer at the time, Thierry Herzog, dismissed Takieddine's claims and produced a copy of a witness statement to police by Takieddine in 2012 in which the businessman said he had last seen Sarkozy in November 2003.

Takieddine for years has been embroiled in his own problems with French justice. The first round of the party's primaries, in which Sarkozy is trailing Alain Juppé, the mayor of Bordeaux, will be held on Sunday.

A former aide, Alexandre Djouhri, is fighting extradition to France after being arrested in London in January on suspicion of money laundering as part of the case. Since then, investigations have advanced considerably to answer questions related to Sarkozy's suspicious campaign, said Le Monde.

Sarkozy has faced numerous legal challenges in the past.

Separately, prosecutors recommended in September 2016 that Nicolas Sarkozy and 13 others stand trial over an alleged multi-million-euro fraud related to the illegal financing of his 2012 presidential election campaign.

Marine Le Pen, leader of France's right-wing National Front, said the money could have influenced Sarkozy's decision in 2011 to join military intervention against the Gadhafi regime.

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