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Businessman linked to Sarkozy corruption allegations detained in Beirut

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Lebanon detained a French-Lebanese businessman linked to allegations of covert Libyan financing for former French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign, two Beirut security sources said on Friday.

The sources said security forces arrested Ziad Takieddine based on an Interpol request over the Sarkozy case and separate corruption charges.

French prosecutors are investigating allegations that Libya’s late former leader Muammar Gaddafi provided Sarkozy’s successful run for the presidency with millions of euros shipped to Paris in suitcases. Sarkozy denies this.

In a 2016 interview with a French news site, Takieddine said he had transferred about 5 million euros ($6.07 million) of illicit funding from Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief to Sarkozy and his campaign director.

But when Takieddine surfaced in Beirut a few months ago, he withdrew his account of events in a video published by French media.

Imad al-Khazen told Reuters on Friday that he and another Beirut lawyer had stopped representing Takieddine as of last weekend over unpaid bills and disagreement about how to proceed with his case.

Reuters could not immediately verify whether Takieddine had hired other legal representatives.

Main Photo: French-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine. EPA-EFE/Julien de Rosa

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