French firm sold Kadhafi stealth 4X4: report

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A French company provided Libya in 2008 with a specialised 4X4 designed to protect Moamer Kadhafi while he traveled, and the French presidency signed off on the deal, Mediapart reported online Sunday.

The vehicle, capable of neutralising any electric field within a 100-metre (328-feet) radius, was made by Amesys, a subsidiary of the French technology firm Bull, which earlier this month acknowledged it had dealings with Kadhafi's regime.

"The sale of this material received, in 2007, the support of (then) interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, and his chief of staff Claude Gueant. The vehicle was eventually delivered in 2008, with the green light, this time, of the (presidency)," Mediapart wrote.

The French presidency declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

Mediapart detailed, citing supporting documents, the vehicle's technical specifications and the four million euros ($5.5 million dollars) Libya paid for it.

The report said the 4X4 Mercedes was equipped with a Faraday cage that protected the occupants from external electric fields, and with a system capable of knocking out surrounding radio frequencies.

The sale of the 4X4 was, according to Mediapart, part of a two-pronged deal with the Libyan regime called the "Homeland Security Program" that included equipment which enabled Kadhafi's fallen dictatorship to monitor Libya's Internet network and conduct email surveillance.

The 26.5 million euro deal, signed in 2007 between Bull-Amesys, was orchestrated by the French-Lebanese arms dealer Ziad Takieddine, Mediapart further reported.

On September 1, Amesys, responding to an earlier report in the Wall Street Journal, said it agreed in 2007 to sell Kadhafi's regime its "Eagle" system, which allowed the regime to monitor a small part of Libya's Internet connections.

The company said the deal was signed "in the context of international diplomatic rapprochement with Libya which supported the international fight against terrorism and crimes committed by Al-Qaeda."

Sherpa, a French watchdog group, last week filed a complaint against Amesys for selling Kadhafi's regime equipment designed "to track rebel forces" that could have violated privacy rights, a judicial source said.

© 2011 AFP

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