New episode in one of the greatest affairs of French politics of the twenty-first century. On Wednesday, the National Financial Prosecutor's Office justified in an impressive 425-page indictment its request for a trial of 13 people, including Nicolas Sarkozy and three of his former ministers, in the sprawling Libyan financing of the 2007 presidential campaign. Four offences are charged: passive corruption, concealment of embezzlement of Libyan public funds, illicit financing of electoral campaigns and criminal associations.

The public prosecutor believes it has a "set of convergent testimonies of former Libyan dignitaries on the fact that Nicolas Sarkozy (...), in October 2005, solicited from Muammar Gaddafi occult financial support" for his presidential campaign of 2007: "a corruptive pact" would have been concluded. The PNF adds that the investigation "highlighted the existence of diplomatic, economic and judicial counterparts", for example the return of Libya to the diplomatic scene or the conclusion of contracts, "but also atypical and unproductive financial flows from Libya via, in particular, Ziad Takieddine".

"Opaque circuits for the circulation of Libyan funds"

For the prosecution, testimonies, personal notebooks of a former Libyan minister found dead in 2012 and especially computer archives of the intermediary Ziad Takieddine, prior to the public revelation of the case, come to prove it, thus thwarting according to the PNF the thesis of the defense of a "fable built retrospectively" to torpedo the ex-president. "If it seems obvious that all the Libyan funds initially intended" to finance the campaign of the former UMP candidate "were not mobilized for this purpose", the investigation highlighted "opaque circuits of circulation of Libyan funds that ultimately led to cash disbursements in a temporality and chronology compatible with occult use" during the 2007 presidential election.

On the basis of the investigations carried out by the financial investigators of the Oclciff, the PNF evaluates, for example, at 5.9 million euros the money that passed between January and November 2006 from the Libyan State to an account of the Rossfield company of which Ziad Takieddine was the economic beneficiary. But during this period, 440,000 euros were transferred to a Bahamian account for the benefit of Thierry Gaubert, a former close friend of Nicolas Sarkozy, while Ziad Takieddine himself withdrew in cash about one million euros from a second account funded by the Rossfield account.

"Effective participation" of former ministers

The heaviest accusation remains that of criminal associations, and it is also the riskiest for the former head of state, because it is considered easier to make before a criminal court. For the magistrates, "several close to Nicolas Sarkozy have, with consistency, acted as intermediaries, sometimes official", his former ministers Claude Guéant and Brice Hortefeux, "sometimes unofficial", the intermediaries Alexandre Djouhri and Ziad Takieddine, in order to obtain Libyan financial support for the 2007 presidential election or to "facilitate the implementation of counterparties (economic, diplomatic and judicial) following this support".

The indictment highlights the "active, even essential" role of Claude Guéant and the "effective and conscious participation" of Brice Hortefeux in this "project". And Nicolas Sarkozy? "These acts, which most of the time were initiated by (his) relatives, could not, by nature, be engaged without the approval and the perfect knowledge of the facts," decides the public prosecutor. The former head of state disputes all the accusations. The final decision on a trial will be taken by the financial investigators, probably before September.

  • Justice
  • Mouammar Kadhafi
  • Nicolas Sarkozy
  • Libya
  • Election campaign