Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has been placed under a formal investigation this week over allegations that he received up to €50 million from Libyan dictator Muammar el-Gaddafi during the course of his 2007 presidential election. He’s been held for questioning for the past two days in Nanterre, just northwest of Paris.
Sarkozy’s relationship with Libya is complicated, and these allegations have been long coming. In 2016, French-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine confessed to smuggling millions of euros into France from Libya as campaign contributions for Sarkozy from Gaddafi in 2006 and 2007. As foreign campaign donations are illegal in France, Sarkozy suffered quite a hit to his reputation, even though the allegations were denied by Sarkozy and his chief of staff, Claude Guéant.
The results of these allegations are still unclear, but they could imply grave things regarding Sarkozy’s actions in the Middle East during his presidency, which Al Jazeera says could have been motivated by Sarkozy’s desire to bury his own indiscretions by taking on a personally-motivated war. Corruption charges against high-ranking government employees remain the global soup du jour, and France can only hope that all relevant information will emerge in time.