Gaddafi, Tapie and Bettencourt: Nicholas Sarkozy's scandals are catching up as he talks about return to political stage

Fresh allegations emerge over former French President's link to the Libyan dictator amid further controversies

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s past is catching up with him in the week that he began to talk openly about his hopes for a political future.

Fresh allegations have emerged this week about the illicit funding of Mr Sarkozy’s political career by the late Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi.

Separately, Mr Sarkozy and close allies face renewed suspicions about an allegedly over-generous €403 state compensation payment to the disgraced French tycoon Bernard Tapie in 2008.

In a development in a third alleged scandal, the ex-President’s lawyers will ask an appeal court in Bordeaux tomorrow to quash a formal accusation of that Mr Sarkozy took illicit campaign money from France’s wealthiest woman, Liliane Bettencourt when her mental faculties were waning in 2007. The court is expected to reject the request.

At an appearance at a financial conference in London this week, Mr Sarkozy said that he would consider ending his political retirement if he was “needed”.  His hopes of running for president for a third time in 2017 depend, however, on the outcome of three separate criminal inquiries.

The newspaper Le Monde reported today that four former officials in the Gaddafi regime had offered to give evidence to French magistrates who are investigating alleged Libyan payments to Mr Sarkozy in 2006-7.  According to Le Monde, their lawyer, Marcel Ceccaldi, has told investigators that  €50m was handed to a Sarkozy emissary by the brother of a close aide of Gaddafi in 2006.

According to the newspaper, a CIA internal note in November 2011 reported a €5m payment by Libya  to Mr Sarkozy’s former chief of staff and interior minister, Claude Guéant in 2007.

Separately, another team of investigating magistrates last week formally accused a senior French judge, Pierre Estoup, 86, of taking part in a “conspiracy with others” to defraud the French state by giving an over-generous compensation payment to Bernard Tapie in 2008.  Mr Estoup was one of three judges who sat on an informal tribunal which offered €403m to Mr Tapie -  a friend of Mr Sarkozy - for his alleged losses when a state-owned bank mis-sold his sports company, Adidas, in 1993.

According to leaks to the French media, the magistrates are investigating the possibility that the unnamed  “others” in the alleged conspiracy included the then President of the Republic, Mr Sarkozy.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine