© AFP 2018 / Kenzo Tribouillard/PoolНиколя Sarkozy© AFP 2018 / Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool
The case of financing from Libya, the presidential campaign of 2007, in which the ex-President of France Nicolas Sarkozy brought several charges, can drag on for years and likely will end as well as the Bettencourt case, with the ex-President off the hook, but it will be done without the fanfare that accompanied the recent events, ex-Minister of transport Thierry Mariani.
Lawyer Xavier Bertrand also believes that this case can take a long time, and notes that placing Sarkozy under judicial control is quite unexpected, since it is difficult to imagine that the former President may escape.
On Wednesday evening, after 25 hours of interrogation with a break for sleep, Sarkozy was charged with passive corruption, illegal campaign financing and covering up the Libyan state funds. The ex-President denies all charges. Morning media reported his statements during interrogation.
«Statements of Muammar Gaddafi, his family and his gang began only on March 11, 2011, the morning after the reception at the Elysee Palace of the Transitional national Council of Libya. Since then began a campaign of slandering me,» said Sarkozy. He insists that he was accused without any evidence, based on the statements of Gaddafi, his son, nephew, cousin, representative, former Prime Minister and French businessman of Lebanese origin Ziad of Takieddine.
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Suitcases with millions
The case in which the ex-President appeared before the investigators, stretches in France for several years. In the spring of 2012, after Sarkozy failed to be re-elected for a second term, the French newspaper Mediapart published a document which stated the transfer of the Libyan regime of 50 million euros to the needs of the presidential campaign Sarkozy. According to the publication, negotiations on the financing of the campaign was between Gaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam and Takieddine.
French businessman has repeatedly appeared before the court, he was charged with money laundering, bribery of officials of foreign States and fraud.
A preliminary investigation into campaign Finance was opened in April 2013.
Another attempt to return to the higher echelons of power, Sarkozy has made in 2016, putting forward his candidacy in the primaries of the center-right. A few days before Takieddin told reporters, as he carried the bags with money from Libya to the French interior Ministry, the head of which at the time was Sarkozy. The total amount of cash was, according to him, five million euros.
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Thierry Mariani, the former during the presidency of Sarkozy the Minister of transport, in conversation with the correspondent of RIA Novosti said that «French justice is not aware of other similar cases of presentation of charges to ex-President». Sarkozy himself, however, charges are applied not for the first time.
«A few years ago, we have experienced the same story with Sarkozy — that was the case Bettencourt, heiress of L’oreal. Sarkozy was also charged, all developed exactly the same scenario and ended with its full justification,» recalls Mariani.
In the framework of the «case Betancourt» the ex-President was accused of breach of trust of the owner of L’oreal Liliane Bettencourt when financing his election campaign. The investigation began in 2007, but until 2012, Sarkozy as the President had immunity. In October 2013 the case was dismissed for lack of evidence.
«Now, I think it is rather a frenzy of justice against Nicolas Sarkozy, than any particular thing. In fact, this case for 11 years, and it is based on the testimony of two men: one of them was close to Gaddafi, and the second has been repeatedly sentenced for his statements,» — said the former Minister.
In his opinion, the actions of the French justice, which in the last days is closely watched not only in France but also abroad, «humiliate» Sarkozy because he «poses no danger to society, and the risk that he would flee France, no.»
«The indictment is in any case not evidence of guilt. This is a sign that the investigation is ongoing. And I am convinced that this case will end the same way as with Betancourt quietly while no one sees, no one will talk about it, he’ll be cleared,» expressed the hope Mariani.
Mention how how can last investigation, he explained that there are no time limits in the law are not spelled out.
«It can last ten years. In the French justice, in contrast to the justice of other countries, not prescribed the maximum period of investigation. Judges can at least every year to send summons, and it can take five or ten or twenty years. There is no limit, and this is the worst», he concluded.
Lawyer Xavier Bertrand believes that it will take at least several months.
«Now Sarkozy will have access to it, this will allow his lawyers to develop a line of defense. They will have to request documents from the dossier. It will take several months, before we move on to the next stage — the withdrawal of the charges or transfer the case to the court,» said the lawyer.
According to him, now it is impossible to determine how long it will take the whole process.
«In any case, all further actions will take many months. I would say that the answer about whether the case is closed, or it will develop further, will have to wait at least a year,» said Bertrand.
«They say that there is no official confirmation that the case is dominated by the testimony of witnesses, not real and proven facts… But when someone is indicted, that means there is serious and concerted basis», — said the Agency interlocutor.
The lawyer noted that the placement of the ex-President under judicial control is quite unexpected.
«What exactly is meant by judicial review in this case is not very clear. This can be a restriction of freedom and movement is surprising, since it is difficult to imagine that the former President will leave the country. But it may be that the control requires only limited communication with some specific people,» he explained.
Bertrand recalled another case when a former head of state was brought before the court. Charges of embezzlement and abuse of power were brought against former President of France, Jacques Chirac, to the case of creating fictitious jobs in the Paris city hall. In 2011 he was found guilty and sentenced to two years probation.
© RIA Novosti / Alexey Witicisms rejected the charges in the case on the financing of the presidential campaign»the Charges against Sarkozy is serious enough, it could face actual jail time. Given what he was charged, the maximum term may be up to ten years. But before seriously discuss possible, you need to consider a lot of elements of the case. While this is not a matter for discussion,» he added.
Sarkozy took the reins of the country just from the hands of his fellow party Chirac. But to assume, whether the policy will suffer the same fate as its predecessor, conviction, probation or even a real term, not now.