Police Question Nicolas Sarkozy About 2007 Campaign Funding

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A judicial source with direct knowledge of the case told The Associated Press that Sarkozy was being held at the Nanterre police station, north-west of Paris.

Sarkozy was placed in custody on Tuesday as part of an investigation that he received millions of euros in illegal financing from the regime of the late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. The allegations first broke into public view in 2011, days before North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries launched a bombing campaign championed by Mr. Sarkozy to support rebels fighting Gadhafi's government.

Ziad Takieddine, a French-Lebanese arms dealer who had introduced Mr. Sarkozy to Colonel Qaddafi, told Mediapart in 2016 that he had personally delivered suitcases with €5 million in cash to Mr. Sarkozy and Mr. Guéant shortly before the 2007 election.

Takieddine made his claims when Sarkozy was campaigning to be the presidential candidate of the right-wing The Republicans party. But by 2011, Sarkozy had established France as a leading player in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation coalition that ultimately topped Gadhafi's regime.

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"Since the beginning of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation support for the revolution, strongly backed by the government of Nicolas Sarkozy, Gaddafi openly threatened to reveal details of his relationship with the former president of France, including the millions of dollars paid to finance his candidacy at the 2007 elections", the paper wrote.

He can be held for up to 48 hours and presented to a magistrates' court for indictment, if the police seek charges.

Sarkozy served as president until 2012.

Le Monde said French investigators were also in possession of several documents seized at his home in Switzerland.

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In January, Alexandre Djouhri, a French businessman and former Sarkozy associate, was arrested at London's Heathrow Airport in connection with the probe but was released on bail.

Sarkozy won the 2007 election but failed to secure a second mandate in 2012 after losing to former President Francois Hollande.

Seven months after his 2007 presidential victory, Mr Sarkozy invited Gaddafi to Paris and clinched major arms and nuclear energy sales to the oil-rich north African country, which has since descended into civil war.

The prosecution claims Sarkozy spent almost double the legal limit of €22.5 million on his lavish campaign, using false billing from a public relations firm called Bygmalion.

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This, however, was the first instance of Sarkozy being questioned.

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