French ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy blasted what he said was a lack of evidence for corruption charges against him over claims the late Libyan dictator Moamer Gaddafi funded his 2007 election campaign, in his court statement published yesterday.
The day after he was charged in France's most explosive political scandals in decades, the 63-year-old rightwinger said in the statement published by the Figaro newspaper that he had been in "living hell" since the allegations emerged in 2011.
Demanding he be treated as a witness rather than a suspect, he urged magistrates to consider "the violence of the injustice" if it was proven, as he claims, that the accusations are a "manipulation by the dictator Gaddafi or his gang".
"In the 24 hours of my detention I have tried with all my might to show that the serious corroborating evidence required to charge someone did not exist," Sarkozy said.
"I stand accused without any tangible evidence through comments made by Mr Gaddafi, his son, his nephew, his cousin, his spokesman, his former prime minister," he added, ahead of a television interview last night.
The allegations that Sarkozy took money from Gaddafi -- whom he helped to topple in 2011 -- are the most serious out of myriad investigations dogging him since he left office in 2012.
Judges decided they had enough evidence to charge the combative one-term president Wednesday after five years of investigation and two days of questioning in police custody in the Paris suburb of Nanterre.
Sarkozy, who served as president from 2007 to 2012, was charged with corruption, illegal campaign financing and concealment of Libyan public money, a judiciary source told AFP.