A Lebanese-born businessman claims to have proof that former French president Nicolas Sarkozy received over €50 million (nearly $66 million) in funding from Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi during Sarkozy's 2007 campaign.
According to the Independent, Franco-Lebanese arms dealer Ziad Takieddine reasserted his claim to the newspaper Le Parisien after informing a French judge of the dealings.
"I can provide you with details of the financing of Nicolas Sarkozy’s campaign," Takieddine told Le Parisien, via RT. He also claims to have "evidence that three French companies in Libya have received contracts for fictitious services" amounting to over €100 million.
Takieddine's accusations leaked amid an investigation into a money laundering scheme which has been dubbed the "Karachi affair." According to the Telegraph, the scheme involved kickbacks from a 1994 arms sale to Pakistan in which money was directed to fund the presidential campaign of then-prime minister Edouard Balladur, for whom Sarkozy served as budget minister and campaign spokesman.
The allegations against Sarkozy were first made by Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, in 2011 after France became the first country to recognize the interim government in Benghazi during the Libyan revolution.
Sarkozy called the accusations "grotesque" and questioned the credibility of Gaddafi's son, who is awaiting trial for war crimes, CNN notes.
But then in April 2012, investigative website Mediapart revived the claims when it published a letter signed by signed by Gaddafi's foreign intelligence chief, Moussa Koussa, which purportedly detailed the approval of a €50 payment "to support the electoral campaign" of Sarkozy. According to the Guardian, the letter, dated Dec. 2006, described a meeting in October of that year between Gaddafi's spy chief, Abdullah Senussi, the head of Tripoli's African investment fund, Bashir Saleh, and Takieddine.
Sarkozy again denied the charge, calling the document a "crude forgery" meant to derail his bid for reelection and threatened to sue Mediapart, the BBC notes.
Now, however, the former president of France may be facing a slew of legal problems of his own, in addition to the claims made by Takieddine. No longer protected by presidential immunity from prosecution, Sarkozy is currently being investigated for possibly accepting illegal campaign donations from an aging cosmetics heiress.