Nicolas Sarkozy fails to have illegal money charges thrown out

Nicolas Sarkozy has failed to have criminal charges over £42million of illegal payments from Colonel Gaddafi thrown out by judges in Paris

  • The former French President, 65, challenged lawmakers in Paris Appeal Court
  • The Gaddafi money was allegedly laundered through foreign bank accounts
  • Sarkozy now faces trial and possibly prison after judges rejected his appeal

Nicolas Sarkozy has failed in his bid to have criminal charges over £42million of illegal payments from Colonel Gaddafi thrown out.

Judges sitting at the Paris Appeal Court on Thursday rejected every single one of the former President’s, 65, arguments against trial.

‘I think the judges were able to resist all kinds of pressure,’ said Vincent Brengarth, a barrister for Sherpa, a group that represents the victims of financial crimes, and which is a civil party in the case.

Nicolas Sarkozy has failed in his bid to have criminal charges over £42million of illegal payments from Colonel Gaddafi thrown out

Confirming the devastating judgement against Sarkozy, Mr Brengarth said he was ‘satisfied’ with the result.

Sarkozy now faces a criminal trial and the prospect of prison over the Gaddafi money, which is believed to have been laundered through bank accounts in Panama and Switzerland.

It was said to have provided the cash to propel Sarkozy to power in 2007 – something Sarkozy vehemently denies.

Within a few months of his election, Sarkozy invited Gaddafi to Paris for a state visit and praised him as a great friend and ‘Brother Leader’.

But two years ago Sarkozy was charged with taking bribes, embezzling Libyan public funds and illegal campaign financing.

Sarkozy is allowed one more appeal to the Court of Cassation in Paris, with his lawyers saying he is being ‘hounded’ by the French judiciary.

The case was triggered by Mediapart, the investigative news site which in 2012 published a document signed by Libya’s intelligence chief which proved the equivalent of £42million was to be paid to Sarkozy.

Within a few months of his election, Sarkozy invited Gaddafi to Paris for a state visit and praised him as a great friend and ‘Brother Leader’

Sarkozy has insisted that the contract is a fake, but it has now been ruled it can be used as evidence.

The former head of state’s former conservative ministers Claude Gueant and Eric Woerth have also been charged in relation to the allegations.

It was in 2011 that RAF and French Air Force jets led the mass bombing campaign that ended with Gaddafi being hacked to death by a mob.

There have been claims that Sarkozy wanted his old friend and ally dead because of his potential to produce incriminating evidence.

Sarkozy is already set to appear in the dock in Paris on October 5, when he will become France’s first ex-president to be tried for alleged crimes carried out in office.

He is said to have illegally tried to influence a judge, and has also been charged in a case relating to fake invoices devised to mask overspending on his failed 2012 re-election campaign.

Within a few days of Sarkozy losing his presidential immunity from prosecution in 2012, fraud squad detectives raided the Paris home he shares with his third wife, the pop singer and former model, Carla Bruni.

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