France Arrests Libyan Diplomat Over Sarkozy Campaign Funding Scandal

former French President, Nicolas Sarkozy
former French President, Nicolas Sarkozy

A Libyan diplomat linked to the French secret services has been indicted for “corruption of foreign judicial personnel,” according to France’s newspaper, Media Part.

Sources said that a former Libyan intelligence agent and protocol officer at the Libyan Embassy in Paris, Hamadi Matog, 63, was indicted on 16 September by investigating judge Vincent Lemonier.

Matog reportedly admitted to having served as an intermediary to try to obtain the release of one of Muammar Gaddafi’s sons, in order to serve the interests of former French President, Nicolas Sarkozy.

In September, Bashir Saleh, Gaddafi’s former Chief of Staff gave a legal statement describing how Sarkozy directly asked Gaddafi for “help” with his 2007 Presidential election campaign.

In a statement to the public prosecution services, Saleh, who was also the head of Libyan African Investment Portfolio (LAIP), said he was told Sarkozy approached Gaddafi during a visit to Tripoli on 6 October 2005. Gaddafi reportedly replied: “If my friend Chirac does not stand, I am ready to help you.”

Libyan prosecutors have also obtained a detailed account from Gaddafi’s former personal secretary, Ahmed Ramadan alleging how the regime funded Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign.

Ramadan gave an account of what he said was Sarkozy’s “first visit to Tripoli”, in October 2005. “During Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit, he asked Colonel Gaddafi to support him financially and morally for his forthcoming election campaign,” he told the prosecutors. “Muammar Gaddafi gave his agreement.”

Saleh’s statements were obtained by Libyan prosecutors in Dubai in 2019. These, alongside Ramadan’s statements, were given in June this year to the judicial investigation opened in France.

The judge-led probe has placed Sarkozy, 67, under investigation for “corruption, criminal conspiracy, illicit campaign financing, and receiving the proceeds of misappropriated public funds”.