The former minister Brice Hortefeux, was summoned Thursday, August 1 by the investigating judges charged with the investigation of the accusations of financing by the former Libyan regime of Gaddafi of the presidential campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007. His lawyer announces that he will not be indicted and that he has been placed under the intermediate status of assisted witness.
"The judges did not consider that there was sufficient evidence to indict him," said Jean-Yves Dupeux, adding that his client was "very relieved." His lawyer said that Brice Hortefeux did not answer the questions of the judges but he made two long statements to explain the merits of the case.
A referral to the Court of Justice of the Republic
Brice Hortefeux's lawyer has recently lodged an application for referral to the Court of Justice of the Republic, the only one authorized to judge crimes committed by members of the government in the exercise of their functions, because it considers that this file does not fall within the competence of the investigating judges.
Since 2013, these judges have conducted extensive investigations to verify the Libyan financing charges, made by the French-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine and former dignitaries of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, but they have not been materially substantiated. so far.
The former Minister and Secretary General of the Elysee Claude Gueant and Nicolas Sarkozy have been indicted, including for "passive bribery" and "concealment of embezzlement of public funds" in this procedure, which is the subject of appeal before the court of appeal.
Hortefeux denies having given "an account reference"
The suspicions against Mr. Hortefeux are based on the accusations of Ziad Takieddine and Abdallah Senoussi, brother-in-law of Muammar Gaddafi and former head of Libyan military intelligence. Abdallah Senoussi said he had "personally supervised" transfers of funds for the campaign of the candidate of the UMP, become LR. He claims that in December 2005 Brice Hortefeux, then Minister for Local Authorities, gave him "a sheet with a bank name and an account number" on which the funds were to be paid.
Interviewed on March 20, 2018 by the police officers of the anti-corruption office in Nanterre, Brice Hortefeux had confirmed having visited Mr. Senoussi on the sidelines of an official trip, but said he had given him "no account reference" .
Ziad Takieddine, who claimed to have transported between November 2006 and early 2007 "a total of five million euros" in suitcases on three trips between Tripoli and Paris, was indicted for "complicity in corruption and trafficking of 'active and passive influence'.