Author: MAXIME SCHLEE
Posted on: Politico.Eu | March 22nd, 2018
The former French president has been charged with illegal financing of his 2007 election campaign.
Accusations of illicit funding from Libya have made his life “hell,” former French President Nicolas Sarkozy told the court that on Wednesday put him under formal investigation for corruption and illegal campaign financing.
“Since March 11, 2011, I live the hell of this slander,” he told judges, according to French newspaper Le Figaro, which published his statement Thursday.The allegations have plagued Sarkozy ever since 2012, when the news website Mediapart published a document allegedly emanating from the former head of the Libyan secret services, promising Sarkozy some €50 million for his 2007 election campaign.
“I have already paid a heavy price in this affair,” the former French president, who held office from 2007 to 2012, told judges. “I lost the 2012 presidential election by 1.5 percent. The polemic launched by Gaddafi and his henchmen cost me that point and a half.”
Sarkozy has repeatedly denied the allegations, citing a lack of evidence. He has also alleged that the Libyans now denouncing him were motivated by revenge after he helped lead the 2011 western intervention in Libya that deposed then-leader Muammar Gaddafi.
“I was the leader of the coalition that destroyed the Gaddafi system and I have already paid a heavy price because of this campaign rarely matched in mud, slander and insanity,” Sarkozy is quoted by Le Figaro as telling the judges.
“If I had anything to reproach myself in this case, do you think I would have been so stupid, so mad as to attack the man who had supposedly financed me up until then?” he added.