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France: Nicolas Sarkozy to face trial in 2025 over Libya

August 25, 2023

The trial is set to hear evidence that former French President Nicolas Sarkozy conspired to take cash from the Libyan leader Gadhafi to fund his victorious 2007 bid for the presidency illegally.

Hearing of the Commission of Inquiry to establish the reasons for the loss of sovereignty and energy independence of France.
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy Image: Vincent Isore/IP3press/IMAGO

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is set to face trial in 2025 over allegations that he received money from the late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi to finance one of his election campaigns, prosecutors said on Friday.

The trial is set to hear evidence that Sarkozy and 12 other co-defendants conspired to illegally take cash from the Libyan leader to fund his victorious 2007 presidential bid.

Among the 12 others facing trial in the case are Sarkozy's former right-hand man Claude Gueant, his then head of campaign financing Eric Woerth and former Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux.

The prosecutor's office said an initial hearing is set for March 7, 2024, with the trial itself scheduled for between January 6, 2025 and April 10, 2025.

He will stand trial over charges of "concealment of embezzlement of public funds, passive corruption, illegal campaign financing and criminal conspiracy to commit a crime punishable by 10 years in jail," the prosecutor's office said.

The investigation was initially sparked by revelations from the investigative website Mediapart, which published a document showing that Gadhafi agreed to provide Sarkozy up to €50 million ($54 million).

What are the charges?

The former French president has faced many legal problems since his one term in office. He has denied the allegations against him in the Libyan case, which is the most serious he faces.

Sarkozy could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted. He has been convicted twice for corruption and influence-peddling in separate cases involving attempts to influence a judge and campaign financing.

In recent weeks, he caused an uproar when he published the second volume of his memoirs, where he suggested that areas of Ukraine occupied by Russia last year might need to be recognized as Russian.

He also said that the annexed region of Crimea would remain Russian and that "any return to the way things were before is an illusion."

ai/jcg (AFP, Reuters)