Former Gaddafi’s interpreter fears arrest in Libya over remarks on Sarkozy case
A top aide to former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi said Monday he fears arrest if he returns to Libya over what he may know about corruption allegations against France’s ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy and Gadhafi’s alleged financial support to the former France leader. Moftah Missouri, Gadhafi’s chief interpreter and also his adviser since 1996, told the Associated Press that he attended a meeting in 2005 between France’s then-Interior Minister Sarkozy and Gadhafi.
Missouri, who is now living in exile in Tunisia, said over the phone that Gadhafi told Sarkozy during the meeting that he was “pleased to have a friend like you as a president of France.”
Sarkozy allegedly revealed his aspirations to run for president and according to Missouri, Gadhafi told Sarkozy: “We will help you if you run in the election.”
Sarkozy’s lawyer and spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.
The Gadhafi-Sarkozy meeting, Missouri said, took place inside Gadhafi’s sprawling tent in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, and lasted for about 45 minutes. Officials from both sides attended but Missouri said he does not remember the exact date.
“The talk was in general terms,” Missouri said, adding that Gadhafi and Sarkozy did not discuss any specific money amounts.
Missouri, who was also the head of the so-called France Bureau at the Libyan Foreign Ministry, said that later, he saw a document sent from a Libyan team negotiating the terms of support with the French.
Asked who would know if and what sum of money was delivered to Sarkozy, Missouri said it would be Gadhafi’s chief “accountant,” Salem al-Qomodi, who is currently under house arrest in Libya.
Missouri said that also present at the 2005 meeting were Gadhafi’s former chief of staff Bashir Saleh and French-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine, who later told the online investigative site Mediapart that he delivered suitcases from Libya containing 5 million euros ($6.2 million) in cash to Sarkozy and his former chief of staff Claude Gueant.