French ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy in custody over Gaddafi money scandal

CHRISTOPHER BRENNAN

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is in custody over a scandal where he is accused of receiving $60 million in election funds from the Libyan dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi.

Sarkozy, who led his country from 2007 to 2012, was under the control of police in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on Tuesday morning, according to Mediapart, which first exposed claims about the conservative Republican’s financial backing in 2012.

Revelations about the scandal have continued to come out in recent years, with Franco-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takkiedine saying last year that he helped carry suitcases full of cash to the then-candidate in 2006 and 2007.

Sarkozy has denied the allegations, which Mediapart reported as involving 50 million euros ($61.5 million).

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Gaddafi, who had ruled Libya for decades, died a gruesome death in 2011 after a Western intervention against his country during the Arab Spring, in which France participated.

Sarkozy’s time in custody can last for 48 hours before he must be charged, and it is not clear what counts he could face.

Multiple French media outlets reported that former French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux is also being questioned.