French website Mediapart revealed that French judges arrived in Tripoli earlier this month as part of their investigation into the suspected funding by the Gaddafi regime in Libya of Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign.
The website explained that the judges questioned, for the first time face-to-face, Gaddafi’s former spy chief, and brother-in-law, Abdulla Senussi.
Mediapart said it had gained access to extracts from the statements provided by Senussi, who detailed to the French judges how he oversaw the payment of 7 million euros for Sarkozy’s campaign, as ordered by Gaddafi.
Senussi also confirmed that, as part of the deal between Gaddafi and Sarkozy, the former French president’s personal lawyer and friend Thierry Herzog was involved in moves to overturn an international arrest warrant issued against him after his conviction in absentia by a Paris court for his part in the blowing up of a French airliner in 1989.
"The deal to buy spying devices was done and the mediator Ziyad Taqi Al-Deen got 4 million euros for it. Then, Sarkozy's lawyer visited me with some families of the victims of the bombing. After that, Sarkozy himself assured me that my case will be settled in France in 10 months." Senussi added.
Senussi added that Sarkozy had ordered airstrikes on his houses to destroy evidence.
France's judiciary has been tracking down Sarkozy, his Interior Minister and the financial manages of his elections campaign for charges of corruption, bribery and using foreign money in the elections campaign.
Sarkozy, on the other hand, has been denying the accusations and has described Senussi as a gangster who has no credibility, saying Senussi tried to use the expertise of his lawyer to be exonerated from the bombing's charges, but the lawyer rejected.
Senussi, however, says the 7 million euros were sent to Sarkozy in two installments - a bank transfer of 2 million on November 20, 2006 on the account of Ziyad Taqi Al-Deen and was depicted by French judges, and then 5 million transferred by Taqi Al-Deen to the Interior Minister who gave it to Sarkozy in cash.
Mediapart adds that Senussi's testimony is in line with some of the evidence collected by the investigators, yet some details still need fact-checking.