Arms deals fixer Ziad Takieddine refused entry and returned to France

 

Investigations Reporter

A controversial fixer for arms deals linked to an alleged corruption scandal that engulfed Nicolas Sarkozy has been refused entry to Britain.

Ziad Takieddine, a Lebanese businessman who recently confessed to paying kick-backs to an aide of the former French President, was stopped at St Pancras station in central London on Tuesday afternoon.

The 63-year-old, who has also made extraordinary claims that the late Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi paid up to £40m towards Mr Sarkozy’s successful 2007 presidential election bid, was reportedly questioned by officers from the British Transport Police before being returned to France on the Eurostar.

French media reported the arms dealer, who was banned from leaving France pending the conclusion of several investigations into his affairs, was trying to visit his children in London for New Year’s Eve.

Mr Takieddine went through an acrimonious divorce from his British-born ex-wife, Nicola Johnson, 52, three years ago. One of their disputed assets was Warwick House, in Holland Park, west London, estimated to be worth more than £17m.

A British Transport Police spokesperson said the removal of Mr Takieddine occurred after an unspecified “allegation of fraud” was reported on Tuesday afternoon.

His fleeting appearance at St Pancras station may not be the first time Mr Takieddine has attempted to leave France in recent weeks. According to French media, he also tried to take a flight to Lebanon just before Christmas.

In June, Mr Takieddine told French investigators that he paid kick-backs on arms deals with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia that helped fund the failed presidential campaign of Edouard Balladur in 1995. At the time, Mr Sarkozy was employed as Mr Balladur’s spokesman.

Mr Takieddine reportedly claimed one of Mr Sarkozy’s close aides, Thierry Gaubert, collected suitcases filled with banknotes during visits to Geneva in 1994. Mr Gaubert has denied he is directly connected after being placed under investigation in 2011. Mr Sarkozy is not directly implicated and has denied any role.

Mr Takieddine, a middle man in huge arms and petrol contracts between France and several Middle Eastern countries, has been a persistent thorn in the side of Mr Sarkozy.

A British Transport Police spokesperson said: “A 63-year-old man was stopped at St Pancras International station yesterday following an allegation of fraud.

“The man was escorted back to France by French border police via the Eurostar.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: SAGE Bookkeeper & PA to Directors

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map