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Former French interior minister Guéant detained over Sarkozy Libya finance allegations

media Claude Guéant with Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007 in Tripoli with Moamer Kadhafi Reuters/Pascal Rossignol

Former French interior minister Claude Guéant was taken into custody on Friday in connection with the alleged financing by Moamer Kadhafi’s Libya of Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign.

Guéant, who was Sarkozy’s right-hand man for 10 years, faces questioning by financial crimes investigators over 500,000 euros paid into his account, which he has claimed came from the sale of a 17th-century Flemish painting to a Malaysian lawyer.

Charges that Sarkozy’s successful presidential bid received funding from Kadhafi’s Libya surfaced in the 2012 election campaign, which he lost, when the Mediapart website

Background reading: Previous French scandals

published alleged evidence of it.

Sarkozy claims that the documents are fakes.

An inquiry into corruption and influence-peddling was opened in 2013.

The detention is the third time Guéant has found himself in the cells.

In 2013 he was questioned over cash bonuses paid when he was chief of staff at the interior ministry under Sarkozy – a case that prosecutors will soon decide whether to pursue.

In May last year he was questioned in a case involving tycoon and former politician Bernard Tapie’s settlement with the Crédit Lyonnais bank but was not charged.

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