Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is set to go on trial in 2025 for allegedly receiving around 50m euros (42m GBP) in funding from the Gaddafi-led Libyan government in 2007.
Sarkozy who is under the banner of the centre-right, Les Republicains Party (formerly known as UMP), is facing charges that he received illegal funding from the North African country’s government to fund his 2007 Presidential campaign. It is also believed that 12 others will stand trial for the scandal, according to the Daily Mail, August 25.
Mr Sarkozy won the 2007 Presidential election, defeating Segolaine Royal, before losing the 2012 runoff to socialist candidate, Francois Hollande.
Moammar Gaddafi was at the helm in Libya before a NATO-backed uprising toppled the country’s veteran leader in 2011. The country still faces stop-start conflict since the dictator’s fall as it faced a six-year civil war (the country’s second civil war) from 2014 to 2020, following his passing.
The twelve who face charges include three of the former French President’s ministers, Claude Gueant Sarkozy’s former chief of staff, his head of campaign financing at the time Eric Woerth, and former Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux, as the trial will run from January to April 2025.
The decade-long investigation into the scandal was widely ignored before coming to light recently as the centre-right politician has already received a 3-year sentence (2 years suspended) for corruption and illegal financing back in 2021.
His financing case has been investigated since 2013 and those behind the investigation believe he got 50 million Euros (£42 million) from Gaddafi’s government. The amount is double the legal campaign funding limit at the time and violates France’s rules against foreign campaign financing.
Sarkozy visited the war-torn North African country to meet with the Libyan dictator back in December 2007, shortly after becoming President. The alleged funding is despite Mr. Sarkozy having an impact in the downfall of the Libyan dictator as he supported NATO-led air strikes that helped rebel fighters topple Gaddafi’s regime.