France’s Mediapart is reporting that Nicholas Sarkozy, who is currently running for a second term as French president, accepted more than $60 million in funding from former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi for his successful 2007 election campaign. The allegation is based on information in documents from 2005, which are currently in the possession of a French judge.
They reportedly contain information describing how someone called “ZT” met with Gadhafi’s son and former heir Saif al-Islam and was “in charge of arrangements,” and that the money was laundered through bank accounts in Switzerland and Panama. “ZT” is believed to be millionaire arms dealer Ziad Tekieddine, who has known ties with Sarkozy.
When confronted with these allegations during a French TV appearance on Monday, Sarkozy lashed out at the journalist posing questions. “I am sorry for you that you are the spokeswoman for Gadhafi’s son,” he said. “Gadhafi, who is known for talking nonsense, even said that there were cheques. Well then the son should just go ahead and produce them then.”
It’s hard to imagine something worse for a politician’s public image, regardless of whether or not it’s true. And the first round of presidential voting is a mere six weeks away.