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April 30, 2012

French journalists claim Gaddafi promised Sarkozy campaign €50 million

French journalists claim Gaddafi promised Sarkozy campaign €50 million

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Monday, April 30, 2012

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French news website Mediapart has published a document it says shows the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi pledged French President Nicolas Sarkozy 50 million (£42 million) to fund his 2007 election campaign.

Sarkozy, who gained power in that election, is now fighting a reelection bid but lagging behind socialist opposition leader Francois Hollande in opinion polls. A run-off election is scheduled for May 6.

Sarkozy and Gaddafi are among the world leaders seen here at the G8 summit in 2009.

Had the deal gone ahead it would have breached French law, which bans political donations of such magnitude. Although the Arabic document, apparently signed by Libya’s then-foreign intelligence head Mussa Kussa, dates to 2006 and does not indicate any cash was actually handed over, some reports claim money was laundered via Panama and Switzerland.

Sarkozy spokeswoman Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said the claims were “ridiculous” and invented by Hollande supporters. She said Sarkozy’s election finances were vetted at the time. Hollande spokesman Bernard Cazeneuve said Sarkozy must now “explain himself to the French in the face of such serious elements backed up by new documents emanating from the entourage of the Libyan dictator himself.”

It is not the first time such allegations have been made. As France backed an uprising which ultimately toppled Gaddafi, the Libyan ruler’s son Seif al-Islam last year made the same claim. Mediapart in March published allegations from a doctor who used to treat a local arms dealer, who said his patient had organised such a donation. Sarkozy himself said the suggestion was “grotesque”.

The newly-released document states as present Libya’s head of African investment, Bashir Saleh; Sarkozy ally Brice Hortefeux; Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi; and arms dealer Ziad Takieddine. It is dated October 6, 2006 and discusses an “agreement in principle to support the campaign for the candidate for the presidential elections, Nicolas Sarkozy, for a sum equivalent to €50 million.”

Hortefeux has denied ever meeting Kussa or Saleh.

Mediapart is a respected left-wing investigative website. It is generally viewed as opposing Sarkozy’s right-wing regime. It claims money was laundered via accounts including one in the name of Sarkozy’s political party’s head’s sister, and says governmental briefing notes indicate regular funding trips to and from Libya. Mediapart says its sources are “former senior officials now in hiding.”

When al-Islam first made his claims, he 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.” Sarkozy was dismissive when interviewed this year on TF1, saying “I am sorry to see you in the role of a spokeswoman for Gaddafi’s son, frankly I’ve known you in better roles… I am sorry that I am being interrogated about declarations of Gaddafi or his son on an important channel like TF1. When one quotes Mr Gaddafi, who is dead, his son, who has blood on his hands, that is a regime of dictators, assassins, whose credibility is zero… frankly, I think we have sunk low enough in the political debate.”

An investigation is already ongoing into Takieddine. Takieddine is accused of illegally financing Edouard Balladur in an unsuccessful presidential bid in 1995. Sarkozy, who was spokesman for that campaign, denies wrongdoing in relation to it. It is suspected Balladur received kickback bribes from Pakistan in a submarine sale. Investigators believe eleven French engineers were killed in a bomb attack orchestrated as Pakistani revenge revenge for bribe non-payment.

Kosciusko-Morizet suggests Hollande’s supporters arranged the new claims to coincide with allegations made by former International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Strauss-Kahn fell from favour after a well-publicised sexual encounter with a hotel maid in the US and last week claimed Sarkozy arranged for allegations to be made in order to prevent Strauss-Kahn running against him for president.

“If he had financed it, I wasn’t very grateful,” Sarkozy said previously about the allegations. France played an active role in Gaddafi’s downfall last year, providing military support to a NATO mission against the Libyan ruler.



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May 17, 2007

Sarkozy appoints François Fillon as Prime Minister of France

Sarkozy appoints François Fillon as Prime Minister of France

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

File:Francois fillon1.jpg

François Fillon.
Image: ie.htm Photography Service of the Prime Minister.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

The new President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy has appointed François Fillon to head the new French government. Fillon’s predecessor Dominique de Villepin stepped down yesterday, and formally handed over the post during a ceremony today.

The nomination did not come as a surprise after the British newspaper the Financial Times had reported on May 8 that Sarkozy had introduced Fillon to Tony Blair in a telephone conversation.

François Fillon (53) has been the political advisor of Sarkozy in the UMP for the past 2 years, and he was Sarko’s campaign leader during the recent presidential elections. Fillon has experience in negotiating with the trade unions, having undertaken controversial reforms of the 35-hour workweek and the pension system. Sarkozy in his inauguration speech on Wednesday reiterated his plans to reform the French labour and social system, and Fillon will have to oversee these reforms as the new Prime Minister. Sarkozy said he wants to make the economy more flexible and lessen social tensions.

Cquote1.svg I expect I’ll end up being the first French premier with a Welsh wife. Cquote2.svg

—François Fillon on the phone with Tony Blair, according to the Financial Times.

The Guardian reported that Fillon is an Anglophile; his wife Penelope Clarke, with whom he has 5 children, was born in Wales. Ideologically, Fillon is being described as a moderate left-leaning member of the conservative UMP party.

Fillon had his first experience as a minister in 1993 when he became Minister for the Higher education and Research under PM Édouard Balladur. He later became Minister for the Post office, Telecommunications and Space, then Minister for the social Affairs, Work and Solidarity, and finally Minister for national Education, the Higher education and Research. At the university, he studied public law and political sciences.

Sarkozy might announce his cabinet of 15 ministers as early as Friday, half of which are going to be women, he said. Fillon will lead the UMP in the parliamentary elections next month. A poll on Wednesday predicted a 1.5% increase in votes for the UMP, up to 40%, compared to 28% status-quo for the allied socialists.

Reports say that Sarkozy has offered the foreign minister post to Bernard Kouchner, co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières, who is seen as being on the left in French politics.

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October 12, 2006

Wikinews Shorts: October 12, 2006

Wikinews Shorts: October 12, 2006 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: October 12, 2006

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Kenyan couple caught having sex in mosque

A couple was caught copulating in a mosque during Ramadan in Gilgil, Kenya. They were discovered when a worshipper learned of “strange noises” coming out of a dark corner of the mosques. John King’ori, a senior magistrate said, “Having sex in a mosque is a most abominable thing to religion.”

Two Czechs take Mr Universe and Miss World titles

A Czech, Tomas Bures, today won the Mr Universe title, the same title which launched Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s career. Additionally, a week ago, Czech teenager Tatana Kucharova was named Miss World.

US now qualifies its view that North Korean test was small

After Russia‘s report that the North Korean test was much larger than the American estimate, the U.S. intelligence community is now saying it’s possible the tunnel in which the test took place could have “muffled” the seismic waves and thereby caused the US estimate to be wrong on the downside.

Briefs

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