Did Gaddafi give Sarkozy 50m euros?

Did the Gaddafis give Nicolas Sarkozy €50 million for his campaign fund?  One year ago, Libyan princeling Seif al-Islam made this claim in a Euronews interview (below) in which he referred to Sarkozy as ‘this clown’ and said, “Sarkozy must first give back the money he took from Libya to finance his electoral campaign.  We funded it and we have all the details and are ready to reveal everything.”  Of course, in that interview Seif al-Islam also claimed the regime had already won the war, saying “Military operations are over. Within 48 hours, everything will be finished. Our forces are almost in Benghazi” so it is no surprise that the allegation the Gaddafis had paid off the French president was not taken seriously.  But now (via The Arabist) it seems that the French site mediapart.fr (subscription required) has documents to back the claim.  This news comes as France heads into presidential elections with the first round of voting on 22 April and Sarkozy currently trailing the uninspiring Socialist candidate François Hollande — former partner of the even more uninspiring Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal, who lost to Sarkozy in the 2007 elections for which the Gaddafis made their €50 million donation.

So, is it true?  French campaign finances are famously sordid and opaque, but this all sounds suspiciously of a piece with the Pakistan submarine scandal I wrote about previously.  The details of that scandal were convoluted so it is worth reading the post in full but it involved kickbacks, arms deals, terrorism, and ended with many dead French naval engineers but it began as an attempt to finance Edouard Balladur’s presidential campaign — one for which Sarkozy was campaign manager.  There is a long history of French presidents using African dictators as cash machines — François Mitterand was reputed to be a master at this dark art — and there is no mistaking that in almost every instance of modern African history France has sided with the killers over the victims, most notoriously during the Rwandan genocide.  (By coincidence, Col. Sylvain Ekenge, a leader of the Rwandan Hutu militia FDLR that has been fighting a long guerrilla war in eastern Congo, surrendered yesterday). The cruel irony here is that, with Libya, it appeared that France was finally breaking with this tradition: Sarkozy took the lead in pushing NATO to intervene on the side of the rebels, a move I applauded as right and just.  If these allegations hold up, that commendable effort will seem more like an attempt to wipe clean a debt.


Click here to read about Seif al-Islam’s capture in the Sahara, very near where I traveled off-road during the weeks I spent in Libya.  Or here to read my takedown of the strange apologia for the Gaddafi regime that ran in the London Review of Books.  Or here to read about Transition, the finest journal to come out of Africa.



One Response to “Did Gaddafi give Sarkozy 50m euros?”

  1. John_mark_wall92 says:

    Sarkozy is a slime ball. He has used people and abused their confidence from J.Chirac when Sarkozy was dating his daughter and then dumped her once  Chirac persuaded the then Mayor  Neuilly to step down and give his position  to Chirac’s ( future son in law)
    Then there is the Clearstream issue which I will not go into.
    If proved guilty Sarkozy, and a few of his party executives are going to find them selves in jail at long last.
    He has let us the French people down with his lies.
    Vive la France, Vive La république

    J-M Wall

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