Mr Sarkozy wryly referred to his role in unseating the dictator when he said last year with regard to the allegations: “If he [Gaddafi] financed [the campaign], I have not been very grateful.” But according to many Libyan officials and political insiders, he had tried to build up commercial ties with Gaddafi’s regime in the years before the 2011 uprising.
Given the way Libya was run at the time, that would necessarily have involved very close and friendly contacts with the dictator.For Sarkozy, this investigation, which more or less equivalent in the US process to a grand jury investigation, is a major obstacle to his continued political career. As Hollande has collapsed in the polls, Sarkozy’s hopes for a comeback in the next French presidential election have grown. Obviously, a high-profile public court battle would be an inauspicious beginning to his comeback.And this isn’t the first such allegation Sarkozy has to deal with: Another investigation involving alleged shady and illegal campaign contributions from France’s richest woman is already open. Clearing his name would open the road to the Elysee, but the spectacle of a potential national leader fighting for his freedom in court will strike some in France and elsewhere as a little, well, Berlusconiesque.[Sarkozy image courtesy of א (Aleph) / Wikimedia Commons]