Sarkozy: My Life Is a 'Living Hell'

Former French president denies he received suitcases of cash from Moammar Gadhafi
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2018 6:17 AM CDT
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2017.   (Christophe Petit Tesson, Pool via AP, File)
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(Newser) – Former French President Nikolas Sarkozy is facing serious corruption allegations, but he not only denies them, he says they cost him the presidency. "This calumny has made my life a living hell since March 11, 2011," he told a French court this week after being placed under formal investigation, per Reuters. Sarkozy's campaign is accused of accepting suitcases full of cash from then-Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2007 in breach of campaign finance laws. Sarkozy says it never happened and that he is "accused without any physical evidence." He claims that Gadhafi made up the story to discredit him because Sarkozy supported the military effort to overthrow the Libyan dictator in 2011.

"I've paid a heavy price for this affair," says Sarkozy, who served as president from 2007 to 2012. "Put it this way: I lost the presidential election of 2012 by 1.5 percentage points. The controversy initiated by Gadhafi and his henchmen cost me that 1.5%." The case against Sarkozy centers on French-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine, who says he gave suitcases filled with $6.2 million of cash that came from Gadhafi to Sarkozy campaign official Claude Gueant, reports the BBC. Gueant said Tuesday that he has "never seen a penny of Libyan financing."

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