World Bulletin / News Desk
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy's lawyer on Friday said he would "prove the innocence" of his client, who was placed under official investigation over alleged illegal financing of his 2007 presidential campaign by the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Sarkozy, 63, was charged on Wednesday with passive corruption, illicit campaign financing and misappropriation of Libyan public funds.
Sarkozy’s lawyer Thierry Herzog told French radio RTL that he would be appealing against the judicial supervision imposed on his client.
The former president is banned from traveling to Libya, Egypt, Tunisia or South Africa and from meeting with nine people involved in the case.
"I'm going to bring evidence proving his innocence. And we'll see who are the criminals, the thugs, the murderers, the thieves," Herzog said.
Investigators are trying to determine if Sarkozy secretly received 50 million euros ($56.8 million) from the Gaddafi regime for his successful 2007 presidential campaign, in which he defeated the Socialist Party’s Segolene Royal.
This is the first time Sarkozy is being heard in a probe that was launched five years ago.
The former French president, who served at the top post between 2007 and 2012, has consistently denied the allegations against him.
Speaking on French broadcaster TF1 on Thursday night, Sarkozy called the allegations "an ignominious act, not (just) a lie”.
"I owe the French people the truth: I never betrayed their trust."
Judges Serge Tournaire and Aude Buresi have been working on the case involving the ex-president since April 2013 to determine if his 2007 presidential campaign was the subject of illegal funding from Libya.
In June 2016, French judges ruled that a document claiming Sarkozy was offered 50 million euros ($56.8 million) as an election campaign donation by Gaddafi was authentic.
The document was first revealed by the investigative French news site Mediapart in 2012. In 2016, French Daily Le Monde revealed “the existence of a vast criminal system, involving senior officials linked to Sarkozy”.
“This network, dedicated to the protection of the former head of state, is composed of police officers or magistrates who remained loyal to the former president, and also businessmen, intermediaries, diplomats and even journalists.”
This organized network had allegedly been set up after the arrival of Sarkozy at the Interior Ministry in 2002, which strengthened further after he entered the presidential Elysee Palace in 2007.Last Mod: 23 Mart 2018, 15:18