Malian ex-leader questioned in Sarkozy Libya funding probe

31st March 2015, Comments 0 comments

Exiled former Malian leader Amadou Toumani Toure has given evidence in a probe into alleged Libyan funding for Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 French presidential election campaign, an aide said Tuesday.

Toure, who has been in the Senegalese capital Dakar since being overthrown in a March 2012 coup, was summoned by Senegalese detectives following a formal request from France, the aide said.

He was "asked what he knows of Libyan financing" allegedly provided to Sarkozy by former dictator Moamer Kadhafi, the source told AFP, adding that Toure would not face further questioning.

Local media said Toure spoke to investigators on March 24, but Senegal's criminal investigations division refused to comment.

Amadou Cheikh Bani Kante, former special adviser to Toure on Libyan investments in west Africa, has been implicated in the case as a possible "bag carrier" -- or go-between -- for the Kadhafi regime.

Kante "categorically" denied to AFP in August last year that he had any knowledge of Libyan funding of Sarkozy's successful 2007 campaign.

The allegations emerged after the first round of voting in the 2012 election, when the Mediapart website published a document dating from 2006 and setting out an arrangement for 50 million euros to be paid to the campaign.

Sarkozy says the document is a forgery, and has been backed by the former Libyan intelligence chief Moussa Koussa whose signature was on it.

The centre-right politician lost the 2012 election to Socialist Francois Hollande.

Toure, who came to power in 2002, fled to Senegal after being overthrown by a military junta in 2012 just as he was preparing to end his final term in office.

He was accused by the soldiers of failing to tackle an Islamist insurgency in the north of Mali.

The coup led by Amadou Sanogo toppled what had been heralded as one of the region's most stable democracies and precipitated the fall of northern Mali to Al-Qaeda-linked groups until a French-led military operation in 2013 forced them out of the towns.

The government of current President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has sought to prosecute Toure for "high treason".

© 2015 AFP

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