Lebanese authorities have arrested a Lebanese French businessman who allegedly funnelled millions of euros from former Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi to former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, during the latter’s 2007 election campaign, Arab News reports.
Ziad Takiedinne was arrested by Lebanon’s elite information branch on Thursday night,3 December, based on an Interpol arrest warrant originally issued by France.
French prosecutors had formally charged Sarkozy with corruption and membership in a criminal conspiracy in the Libyan financing case in October, but Sarkozy denied any wrongdoing.
On Thursday, France’s former Interior Minister Claude Gueant was also charged in the case.
Takieddine, 70, was being interrogated by security forces on Friday, 4 December, and is set to be questioned by Lebanon’s top prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat on Monday, 7 December.
Should charges be brought against him, he would likely face trial in Lebanon rather than be extradited to France because he is a Lebanese citizen.
In 2016, the businessman had said he delivered millions of euros in cash from Gaddafi to Sarkozy, claims that he retracted just last month.
The businessman fled to Beirut in June after a French court sentenced him to five years in prison in a separate case involving millions of euros in kickbacks from arms sales to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia signed in 1994.
Haitham Ezzo, a former lawyer for Takieddine, confirmed that this was the second time the businessman has been arrested since returning to Lebanon.