SARKOZY: Gaddafi’s ex-interpreter sheds light on of Libyan leader’s support for Sarkozy
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi agreed to support the 2007 election campaign of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, earmarking millions of euros destined to help the politician win, Moftah Missouri, Gaddafi’s aide and chief interpreter, told Sputnik.
The reports and allegations of Gaddafi’s government’s support for Sarkozy have been around for at least seven years, ever since civil war broke out in Libya.
Years of rumors culminated in Sarkozy’s arrest last March. The former president was briefly detained and questioned over Libya’s alleged contribution to his 2007 campaign. Afterward, Sarkozy was officially charged with corruption. The French politician has rejected all accusations.
Meeting in 2005
According to Missouri, Gaddafi and Sarkozy discussed the presidential ambitions of the French politician in 2005, when the latter visited Libya as the French interior minister.
“I was a witness to a 2005 meeting between the French minister of the interior and his Libyan counterpart. After the end of that meeting, he met with the Libyan leader, who I was then working with… The minister of the interior told the leader that he was planning to run for president at the upcoming election, that is, in 2007. He [Gaddafi] said: ‘I will be glad if such a good friend as you becomes the leader of France, we will support and help you in this,'” the interpreter said.
After Sarkozy announced his candidature, several members of his campaign got in touch with three “prominent Libyan figures.”
“These talks led to the draft of a letter to the leader. And this letter mentions 50 million euros [about $61.8 million], Libya’s contribution to the future president’s campaign,” Missouri said.
Libya’s Millions for Sarkozy
In 2016, French-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine said that he had brought 5 million euros ($6.1 million) in cash from Libya to France in late 2006 and early 2007. According to him, the money eventually found its way to Sarkozy.The interpreter said that he never saw any suitcases being transferred, but, as someone who was working closely with Gaddafi at the time, he knew that the Libyan leader received the aforementioned letter.
“Since the decision was his to make, he lowered the sum. He said, ‘let’s give him, say, 20 million,'” Missouri noted.
The sum was corroborated later when French journalist Delphine Minoui asked Gaddafi how much he was planning to spend on Sarkozy’s campaign.
“He [Gaddafi] said ‘I don’t remember now, but I will clarify and tell you tomorrow’,” the interpreter said.
As the journalist had to leave the following day, Gaddafi told the number to Missouri, who had to pass that information along.
“He told me the following day that he had found out and that the sum was 20 million. But I do not know if he made a mistake if he was speaking about dollars or euros. I am not sure about the currency,” the interpreter stated.
Missouri declined to speculate on the reasons for Gaddafi’s desire to help Sarkozy.
The diplomat said that Gaddafi had helped various countries, either financially or politically.
“Gaddafi was generous to Latin American, Asian, Arab, and European countries. This was political, economic or even financial help,” Missouri emphasize.
Gadafi’s interpreter noted that this kind of help was a regular occurrence in many countries, not just Libya.
War in Lybia
The interpreter said he did not know why Sarkozy became one of the initiators of the international military intervention in Libya in 2011. He did mention the participation of France’s Total gas company in Libya’s gas industry.”There was this sector 66, the richest natural gas field. And contracts between any two countries did not allow for the interference of any third country or company. But it turned out that Qatar bought part of Total, and so Libya voided the contract. Maybe that was one of the reasons,” Missouri said.
What started as protests in several Libyan cities, amid a larger wave of demonstrations in North Africa and the Middle East, grew into a rebellion in 2011. A number of NATO states launched a military intervention in Libya back then.
The diplomat, who was in Libya when the civil war broke out, said that NATO struck several civilian targets during its operation in the country.
“Maybe this is what they call collateral damage, but NATO apologized for its mistake two or three times,” the diplomat said.
According to Missouri, the UN Security Council resolution initially mandated that Libyan military aircraft could be targeted during the flight or at take-off, but NATO later began striking all Libyan aircraft, even if they were not in the air and even those that were not mentioned in the resolution.
Gaddafi was killed in October 2011 in his hometown of Sirte. The country has remained in disarray, torn apart by rival political and armed groups.