A French judicial team interrogated Lebanese-French businessman Ziad Takieddine in Beirut on Thursday, an update in the case of the suspected Libyan financing of ex-French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign.
The 70-year-old businessman fled to Beirut after a French court in June ruled in favor of five years in jail in a separate case involving millions of euros in kickbacks from arms sales to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia signed in 1994.
The session was held at the Court of Cassation at Beirut’s Justice Palace, with the presence of three french judges, Attorney General Judge Imad Qabalan, as well as Takieddine’s lawyer Sharif al-Husseini.
A French judicial source has recently told local media that he was skeptical of the possibility of extradition to France.
“France and Lebanon have not concluded an extradition agreement and Lebanon does not extradite its nationals. The proceedings could very quickly end there,” the source said.
Takieddine is the main accuser in the inquiry into suspected financing of Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign by Moamer Kadhafi.
However, the former French president has denied accusations issued by former members of Moamer Kadhafi’s leadership that he took millions from the Libyan ruler during his successful presidential run.
The scandal came to light in 2012, when investigative website Mediapart published a document purporting to show that the former Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi agreed to give Sarkozy up to 50 million euros ($58m or $67.6m at today’s rates).
In November, Sarkozy was off the spotlight when Takieddine suddenly retracted his claim.
However, the former French president is still entangled in the probe into the illegal campaign financing, as well as probes into attempts to influence the judiciary, and taking money from Kadhafi. He denies all the allegations.