On Wednesday, the key witness retracted allegations that former French president Nicolas Sarkozy took millions in cash from Libya’s late leader Muammar Gaddafi to finance his 2007 presidential campaign.
Earlier in the case, French-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine had claimed he delivered suitcases carrying a total of €5 million from Libya to Sarkozy’s chief of staff in 2006 and 2007.
The witness released a video saying the instructing magistrate had twisted his words. “There was no financing of Sarkozy’s presidential campaign,” Takieddine said.
The former president commented on the first reports of Takieddine’s reversal, saying: “The truth is out at last.”
“The chief accuser recognises his lies,” Sarkozy posted on Facebook. “He never gave me money, there was never any illegal financing of my campaign in 2007.”
In the long-running investigation, Sarkozy has been accused of “Involvement in a criminal conspiracy.” The charges could have led to a trial and the former President rejected all charges, after four days of questioning. He was also questioned last year over the same file.
Sarkozy was charged in 2018 with corruption, illegal campaign financing, and benefiting from embezzled public funds. A former aide, Thierry Gaubert, was also put under formal investigation in January by magistrates.