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Sarkozy under scrutiny again over Libya funds for electoral campaign

Former French President and leader of the Les Republicains Party, Nicolas Sarkozy, 20 March 2018
Former French President and leader of the Les Republicains Party, Nicolas Sarkozy, 20 March 2018

In a new blow to former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the Court of Appeal in Paris rejected most complaints he filed challenging the eight-year investigation into the Libyan funds he is accused of receiving from late Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi to finance his 2017 election campaign.

The court decision allows examining magistrates in charge of corruption cases at the Paris Court of Appeal to continue their investigations, French media reported on Thursday.

The investigative website MediaPart, which was the first to publish details of the Libyan funding of Sarkozy’s campaign and paved the way for opening an investigation into the matter, wrote on Thursday that the investigation led by Parisian judges Aude Buresi and Marc Sommerer has been fully validated by the decision of the Paris Court of Appeal. This allows the judges to freely investigate the affair, destroying Sarkozy’s hopes to close the case.

Sarkozy and his close associates, whose names were mentioned in the investigation, have previously resorted to the Paris Court of Appeal to challenge procedural issues and not the basis of the accusations.

READ: EU sanctions Turkish company accused of breaking Libya embargo

The court cancelled one justification for accusing the former French president of violating election law, now allowing his defence team and close associates to appeal the decision before the Court of Cassation.

Agence France-Presse quoted Jean-Marc Delas, one of businessman Alexandre Djouhri’s lawyers, who has been accused since last January of taking part in the Sarkozy affair, stating: “Rejecting all the petitions is very concerning. It means that the lawyers are always wrong and the Public Prosecution is always right.”

Vincent Brengarth, lawyer for non-governmental organisation Sherpa, welcomed the decision, stating: “I think the judges have successfully resisted various pressures.”

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