Markets in everything, probably more where this came from edition

Mr. Sarkozy, 63, was taken into custody in Nanterre, northwest of Paris, after answering a police summons, according to a French judicial official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, in line with department policy…

The suspicions behind this case first emerged in 2012, when the investigative news website Mediapart published a report suggesting that Mr. Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign had received up to 50 million euros, or nearly $62 million at current exchange rates, from the regime of Colonel Qaddafi, the longtime Libyan strongman who was killed in 2011. Such support would have violated France’s strict campaign finance laws, which cap spending and prohibit foreign funding.

Here is the NYT account.  Here is my earlier post on Gerhard Schröder.


Mr. Sarkozy was quoted as saying: " Phht Facebook ads. The ridiculous Americans know nothing about political corruption. They're amateurs!"

Even by French standards if what is alleged is true, Sarkozy is small time:

In a related incident Giscard was reported by the Canard Enchaîné to have accepted diamonds as personal gifts from Bokassa – who fled to France with looted millions from the Central African Republic's treasury but was still given asylum in France. Legally, official gifts to the President are property of the Republic of France, not the President; Giscard supporters contended that the diamonds were industrial-grade and thus had no sizeable monetary value.

Industrial Grade. Yeah, right. But it looks like history repeating itself because even though "d'Estaing" took the money, it did not work out well for his friend:

Most controversial however was his involvement with the regime of Jean-Bédel Bokassa in the Central African Republic. Giscard was initially a friend of Bokassa, and supplied the regime. However, the growing unpopularity of that government led Giscard to begin distancing himself from Bokassa. In 1979, French troops helped drive Bokassa out of power and restore former president David Dacko.[16] This action was also controversial, particularly since Dacko was Bokassa’s cousin and had appointed Bokassa as head of the military, and unrest continued in the Central African Republic leading to Dacko being overthrown in another coup in 1981.

What they are too polite to mention is the long running rumor that when in the Central African Empire, as it then was, Bokassa served "d'Estaing" human flesh for dinner. Specifically, school girls who had protested against being forced to buy their school uniforms from a supplier linked to Bokassa's wife.

Facebook? Rank amateurs.

No, So Much For Subtlety, the Sarkozy supposed involvement with Qaddafi is no "small time", by any standard. As a corruption affair, it is already outstanding by the amount of money involved. There are many corruption affairs in France, but you would be surprised to see how many have bottom lines in hundred of thousand of euros, or a few millions (like less than five). Fifty millions is a lot for France.

Giscard had indeed been involved in very dirty affairs (of which we still do not know everything), but it was during the 70, more than forty years ago. Most of current French people were either not yet born or still kids at that time. It is another

As a campaign law affair, the amount involved is even more overwhelming, since with 50 hidden millions, Sarkozy would have more than three times the maximal amount authorized to other candidates (22 millions euros for second round candidates, 16 millions for others).

But the importance of this affair goes far beyond the money, and campaign laws. If true, Sarkozy would have committed an act of high treason, by allying himself and getting into powers with the help of the government of a state hostile to France, and of one of the worst dictator then reigning in the word. In any reasonable country, if convicted, such a President should receive the maximal punishment (life in prison in France).

I say all this as a former supporter of Sarkozy (never with any enthusiasm, but simply because the others was worse),
and even with the benefits of the hindsight I fail to see how its tenure as president was overall any worse than that of Chirac before or of Hollande after him. But this affair, if true, must not be let go.

Now the main question remains: is it true ? I guess we shall see. I tend to not believe accusations, especially against politicians, until some very convincing evidence is given. In this affair there are so far a lot of small worrying evidence, nothing utterly convincing as far as I know. But something let me troubled since the very day Sarkozy was elected, in May 2007. In his victory speech, he talked about the tasks facing him, and he said something like "we will obtain freedom for the six Libyan nurses". (There was a lapsus, he was meaning the six Bulgarian nurses held in Libya, of course.) I was very surprised. This affair, who had lasted for years and didn't concern France directly, was not in any way important enough to be mentioned in such a fundamental speech. And Sarkozy was taking a huge political risk by announcing a liberation than no one else had obtained before, and tying his success in this minor question to his whole tenure as president. Of course, as you know, a few weeks later, the nurses (and the Palestinian doctor) were freed, and a few months after that, Qaddhafi was pompously invited to Paris. I find this suggest strongly that, by the day of gis election, Sarkozy was already in full contact with Sarkozy and had an agreement in hand for him to free the nurses (which in itself would already be a crime of treason).

But on the other hand, I do not see how the behavior of Sarkozy pushing for war against Qaddafi can be seen, as many do here, as an evidence that he is guilty. The idea is that Sarkozy wanted Qaddafi dead to prevent him to talk. But it does't make much sense. It took seven month for the war to be won and Qaddafi to be killed. Even if Sarkozy was too optimist, he couldn't hope for Qadafi to be toppled without weeks of bombing leaving him all the time he needed to speak out against Sarkozy, publishing all documents he had proving the transfer of funds, etc. And attacking Qaddafi was really provoking him to so so, in retaliation.

So is Sarkozy innocent or guilty? I really do not know. What I know is that it is important for France to know, and I hope light will be shed on this.

Dear Tyler,

I really like Marginal Revolution and read it everyday, but I have one negative comment. It irritates me every single time I have to scroll down past the huge green MR. It's not necessary and it is enough of a turnoff that some days when I am in a hurry I just move on.

thanks for letting me vent,

We are in the midst of doing a redesign...

How depressing, but the good people at are undoubtedly ready to accept payment from the same people behind MRU.

Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.

The "crime" was Qaddafi supporting Sarkozy for president who then initiated the NATO bombing of Libya?

Or idiocy?

Reporting from Paris — With his popularity at a record low and facing an election next year, French President Nicolas Sarkozy was in desperate need of a boost to his political stature.

And on Saturday, he got it.

The French leader, once dubbed Super Sarko by the local press for his eagerness to take the reins in global crises, summoned leaders from four continents to an emergency war council at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris to agree on military action against strongman Moammar Kadafi in Libya.

His 20 guests had barely reached an agreement when Sarkozy announced that French planes were already in the air preparing to strike.

With almost theatrical gravitas, Sarkozy said France had "decided to assume its role, its role before history" in stopping Kadafi's "killing spree" against people whose only crime was to seek to "liberate themselves from servitude."

Barely more than three years ago, Sarkozy gave Kadafi the red carpet treatment in Paris, welcoming him with open arms and allowing the Libyan leader to pitch a Bedouin tent near the Elysee. Now the French president was announcing that he was sending warplanes in to bomb him.

Beside Sarkozy was British Prime Minister David Cameron, France's partner in the military offensive, talking tough but overshadowed by his Gallic counterpart. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, had refused to support airstrikes or a no-fly zone and said her country would not take part in the military operation.

Then there was Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; European leaders and diplomats have been puzzled about America's apparent unwillingness to take a higher-profile role and, while seated next to French Prime Minister Francois Fillon and opposite Cameron at the summit lunch, Clinton did not seem eager to push herself to the front.

Earlier in the week, French papers reported that when Sarkozy asked Clinton to come out more forcefully in favor of action in Libya, she replied, "There are difficulties" and refused to be drawn out further.

Apparently, the crimes (violations of chapter-and-verse French law) were over-spending the caps and accepting (in an election campaign) foreign money, to wit 50 million euros. It also would have been a crime if the money come from the Clinton Crime Foundation.

My impression was that liberal lunatics love campaign finance laws.

So, when/why did "Super Sark" and PM Cameron change from wining and dining Qaddafi to killing him?

If it's true, it's absolutely inexcusable. Justice would demand the guillotine.

Now this is a clear example of collusion with a foreign government.

No, no, no. If Qadaffi had contributed to a charity, amd that charity had saved lives, THAT would be corruption.

Yes, that would be corruption, but I was talking about collusion.

You poor gullible fools, you are now trained to see charity as corruption. Because the most (dis)honorable man in America told you so.

You are Melania and he is saying "it is all fake news," I never even met the woman.

You say "I believe you, honey."

To be fair to Melania, she seems to be completely done with Trump.

She is quicker than JWatts.

To be fair to JWatts, he's not married to Trump.

LOL, Anonymous.

Trump lives in your brain not mine. I didn't bring up Trump, you did. This thread has nothing to do about Trump. It's your obsession that's causing you to bring up Trump on completely unrelated topics, time after time.

That's the thing that's odd JWatts. You almost got it when you said "Now this is a clear example of collusion with a foreign government." But you didn't follow through. You didn't correct the good old right wing bullshit that contributions to charites were the thing to look out for.

Putin says, "I didn't interfere with the election."

Donald says “I believe you, honey.”

I'm sure Mueller's gonna get the goods any day now.

The nice thing about the give-and-take of of comments is that they help you reduce complex issues:

When will the scales fall the eyes Republican voters, and when will they realize they were conned just like Melania?

Hillary was conned too.

Really 2016 was horrible

Oh yeah, as long as you launder it through your charitable foundation that employs your family members and cronies, it's totally fine

You should really worry about your ability to Believe In A Thing in the complete absence of tangible evidence.

( voice input does weird capitalization I think I'll keep it )

Qaddafi would have been much better served having given that $50 million to the Clinton foundation. He would be alive today.

Sure Melania, that's the ticket, you are true to your guy and the crazy stories he tells.

You realize bill Clinton was a cheater too🧐?

Move on

You have really lost the thread.

I feel sorry for Melania and the way she was bamboozled.

Should I feel sorry for you in the same way?

Yep, it's fake news that Hillary's foundation took enormous donations from foreign governments and actors that Hillary had to deal with in her role as head of the state department. I'm not the biggest hypocrite on the planet at all

Did anyone manage to build any kind of court case against Hillary and her charity?

Or as I say were you poor fools just swindled into thinking charities are bad?

I think it was the second one.

"Did anyone manage to build any kind of court case against Hillary and her charity?"

Let's get a special prosecutor on the case with a staff of Republican lawyer activists, shall we?!

What are you asking me for, Thomas? You have a complete Republican government. They could have set a dozen investigations going.

"... who was killed in 2011."

LOL, love that passive voice. Mistakes were made. Countries were invaded. Heads of state were sodomized with bayonets. These things happen, somehow, mysteriously, if you're on Hillary Clinton's blacklist.

LOL, love that apologia for a mass murdering tyrant: 'heads of state'. He deserved no better.

Indeed. For instance, I support for a Chinese-Russian liberation of the poor people of US from the tyranny of Trump.

- Libyan dictator signs agreement with US to give up nuclear weapons program.
- Next US administration destabilizes Libya, leading to bayonet sodomy of dictator.
- "Moderate" US voter: That was awesome!

Why are states like NK and Iran likely never to give up their nukes? It's a mystery.

Yep, the debacle in Libya is one of the biggest disasters in our limited Nuclear power doctrine.

But, it also wasn't intrinsically the Wests fault. When Gaddafi screwed up the Libyan economy and 30% of the populace was unemployed, it was only a matter of time before a revolt happened. Once the revolt happened and Gaddafi couldn't manage to settle it peacefully, the UN was inevitably going to become involved.

Of course none of that changes the political calculus. If you have nuclear weapons, don't give them up, because then you are subject to UN/NATO/Coalition attacks.

Except this weighs toward what many of us were saying. The Libya thing was all about French and British motives.

Hillary is not in this loop, except as fevered misdirection.

"Hillary is not in this loop, except as fevered misdirection."

LOL, today you are smoking the good stuff.

Here's a youtube of Hillary right after Gaddaffi's death; Hillary Clinton "We Came, We Saw, He Died".

Also from The Washington Post:

"A few hours later, after consultations with British and Arab allies and a leader of the Libyan opposition all demanding action, Clinton joined a White House meeting of President Obama’s National Security Council by phone and forcefully urged the president to take military action.

Clinton’s decision to shed her initial reluctance and strongly back a military operation in Libya was one of the most significant — and risky — of her career.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, national security adviser Thomas E. Donilon and others were against military action, contending that the United States had no clear national interests at stake and that operations could last far longer and cost more lives than anyone anticipated.

But Clinton joined U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice and White House adviser Samantha Power in pressing Obama to back a U.S.- and NATO-led military campaign, arguing that the United States could not let Gaddafi butcher his citizens."

The comment that "Hillary is not in this loop" is just complete malarkey.

You tell the timeline, but misuse it. The French and British and rebels were all on the same page, AND THEN Clinton helped sell it to Obama.

When X comes after Y, X could not have caused Y.

First you say: "Hillary is not in this loop"

Then you say: "AND THEN Clinton helped sell it to Obama."

Those are contradictory statements.

No, they are understanding of the timeline.

Jeez, how many times have you been directed to, and ignored, the timeline?

Power, Rice, and Hillary: The Ghost of Wilsonian Intervention.

There’s a book to be written there.

It boggles the mind how Hillary could see the disaster brewing in the Middle East, ruminate over her incredibly stupid Iraq Vote in the Senate, and say ...hey f it YOLO.

I’m not a Hillary hater like most here, but that shows an incredible lack of judgement and an inability to learn from one’s mistakes.

Instead we have an orange clown. A clown, however, that hasn’t invaded anyone yet, and Inshallah will never.

Sorry about the long post, but Anonymous is insist his comment will be vindicated with a careful look at the time line. Conclusion: No, Hillary was not out of the loop nor was she a victim of French and British foreign policy forcing her hand or deluding her.

You know funny thing about that Time Line. I don't see any French or British military action until after the UN vote. Which was after Hillary forcefully urged the president to take military action.. Furthermore, here's a detailed time line from the WP and it's clearly emphasized that Hillary deliberated over this and came to her own conclusion.

From The WP article:

"By the time Gaddafi’s security forces started killing protesters in Tripoli on about Feb. 17, 2011...Jake Sullivan, one of Clinton’s top advisers, said she realized immediately that the Libyan violence “could spin out of control quickly.”

"“She’s more disciplined than her husband,” the official said. “Hillary Clinton came into the Situation Room for every meeting thoroughly prepared. There wasn’t anything she hadn’t read. She was punctual. She’s a disciplined decision-maker.

When Clinton heard the Libya news, she gathered her top aides, along with other officials with expertise in Libya, at the State Department."

"Over the next four weeks, Clinton received emails with advice from friends including her former aide Anne-Marie Slaughter, former Clinton administration adviser Sidney Blumenthal and former British prime minister Tony Blair,"

"Clinton’s public comments were also constrained by the president’s posture. Obama’s statements on Libya were extremely cautious; his first was issued on Feb. 18 and called for the governments of Bahrain, Libya and Yemen to “show restraint” and “respect the rights of their people.”

Three days later, Clinton called for an end to “this unacceptable bloodshed” and urged Libya to “respect the universal rights of the people.”"

"The decision ultimately belonged to Obama, but Clinton was the one who had been measuring the moods of allies, especially in Arab nations leery of U.S. interventions in the Muslim world. The former White House official interviewed said Obama placed high value on the opinion of his secretary of state.

Knowing that, Sullivan said, “she wanted to be very specific and clear and not rush into a determination on something as consequential as the use of American air power in the Middle East.”"

"When the last Americans left Libya on Feb. 25, the tone from Washington changed immediately. The United States imposed unilateral financial sanctions on Libya and strongly backed a U.N. Security Council freeze on the assets of Gaddafi, his family and associates.

For the first time, Clinton called for Gaddafi to step down after 42 years in power, "

"A powerful group of Obama national security officials, starting with Vice President Biden and Gates, were lined up solidly against any U.S. military involvement in Libya."

"Clinton flew to Geneva on Feb. 27 to attend a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council and meet with U.S. allies. The situation on the ground in Libya was getting more violent, but Clinton continued to be noncommittal."

" On March 10, she told Congress: “I’m one of those who believes that absent international authorization, the United States acting alone would be stepping into a situation whose consequences are unforeseeable. ... Despite those cautious words ...adding that her strong preference is for the United States to lead, preferably at the head of an international coalition."

"On Monday, March 14, she spent the day in discussions with top officials from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain, Canada and Russia. She also spoke with representatives from several Arab nations."

"“It was more of an investigation than a dialogue,” Jibril recalled in an interview. “She asked every type of question that you can think of.”"

"“She basically concluded that for all of the risks of acting, the risks of not acting were greater,” Sullivan said. “That swift succession of events, in a matter of hours, really, led her to say, ‘Okay, when I get on the phone with the president, I’m going to recommend that we do this.’ ”"

"Her allies call that careful, deliberate, thoughtful decision-making.

After meeting Jibril, her mind was made up. Clinton called the White House late Monday night. The Security Council passed its resolution Thursday. And on Saturday, the bombing began."

Who sponsored the UN resolution?

It is as simple as that. No long posts required.

That's all you got? France, Britain and Lebanon sponsored the UN resolution. So Hillary was what? Bamboozled into starting a war in Libya.

That's a laughably thin sliver of evidence to save your argument. Particularly when I've already pointed out how Hillary and her team spent 4 weeks going over the options. But apparently that didn't matter. Apparently I'm supposed to believe that France and Britain had her in a noogie and wouldn't let her go until she convinced Obama to go to war.

Well it's lucky that Trump won. If Hillary was that weak it's clear she shouldn't be President.

Amazing how there's always an excuse for team Blue

Her cackle is not her best feature, but you know. Benghazi went on and on, and they found nothing.

So would you say the cackle was part of the fevered misdirection or just a reaction for generally being out of the loop. And was it an evil Republican plant masquerading as Hillary that forcefully urged Obama to blow the hell out of Libya?

This is the X that came after Y.

Once overthrowing Qadhafi was underway, she was definitely into it. Sure.

There's a detailed analysis above.

"Once overthrowing Qadhafi was underway, she was definitely into it. Sure."

This is wrong. There were no outside forces in Libya before Hillary urged Obama to take action on March 14th. The UN resolution passed on the 18th. NATO forces attacked on the 19th.

"NATO forces attacked on the 19th."

The French leader, once dubbed Super Sarko by the local press for his eagerness to take the reins in global crises, summoned leaders from four continents to an emergency war council at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris to agree on military action against strongman Moammar Kadafi in Libya.

His 20 guests had barely reached an agreement when Sarkozy announced that French planes were already in the air preparing to strike.

With almost theatrical gravitas, Sarkozy said France had "decided to assume its role, its role before history" in stopping Kadafi's "killing spree" against people whose only crime was to seek to "liberate themselves from servitude."

Its bad enough when outsiders blame the US or US government for everything "bad", but worse when US citizens do.

Like in the US, the tea party can rally or the neonazis march, but outside the US, every protest is organized by the CIA because everyone but Americans love their dictator.

In the US, kids spray paint walls on their own. Outside the US, every slogan was spray painted by orders of the CIA.

And only the US president decides what other nations leaders think and do.

So, obviously Putin, Kim, Xi are simply Trump puppets.

Note, Europe cares more about Africa being free and prospering more than the US because miles of deep sea are harder to overcome than Trumps wall, but fails to stop migrants and the EU has more immigrants coming Africa than the US has had from Mexico.

I guarantee that the biggest clitoral erection Hillary ever got in her political career was taking credit for the murder of Qaddafi.

Second place: the day she was promised the Presidency in the 90s in exchange for staying married to a rapist.

Third place: just before noon on Election Day 2016, as she was finishing her third drink and was told that her exit poll lead was already insurmountable.

But remember that Putin is the evil one since he annexed Crimea!

Putin is a dangerous one, because 1) he has contempt for Democracy, 2) annexed Crimea, 3) is running a pro-Russian civil war in the Ukraine and is apparently engaged in using poison gas against defectors in the UK.

The world would be a better place if Putin was out of power and/or dead.


That's all you got?


That's all you got?

That's all May has, too.

"That’s all May has, too."

Isn't it apparent? Who else would it be?

"Such support [$62 million] would have violated France’s strict campaign finance laws, which cap spending and prohibit foreign funding." Is that not the greatest understatement, ever. Who knew that Donald Trump was a Francophile: lots of sex outside marriage and taking lots of money from dictators. Cowen is back on a roll!

Sex outside marriage : good or them ! Money from dictators : very bad, if true. What are your proofs?

This is as simple as this; if you can't do the time, then don't do the crime.

I mean, he did five years as President of France. Not sure if I want to say that it was worth it even if he ends up in prison, or joke that his punishment will be another five years as president, but the tradeoffs at the top are definitely odd.

As a Frenchy, I will give you a local opinion on this one. It is quite satisfactory to see elected officials, even a former president, going in front of the judge when their action are deemed illegal. Happened to former Head of IMF DSK (Socialist Party, main left wing party ), former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac (Socialist Party) and former Prime Minister Alain Juppe (Republican, main right ring party) to name a few.
Hopefully, France is moving more and more towards cleaner and more honest public officials, on the Scandinavian model.
The procedure could take 10 years and end up with a slap on the wrist though, wouldn’t be the first time.
For the Lybian story, honestly, no one knows. From a few quality source (intelligence) I read, he was likely executed during the mess by a French intelligence operative, the potential reasons being many:
Sarkozy wanting to cover up his deals, Gadaffi wanting to stop selling oil in $ and do it with gold dinar instead (reason valid for US involvement), or him disrupting French uranium supply from Niger. There was also lobbying by Qatar to promote Islamism worldwide, on failed states. The human right issue as well (reason valid for US involvement). Destroying one of Russia’s “ally”… Many many rationals. Pick one (or a few).

Fascinating. Thank you for sharing. Congratulations to France. Here in the US we have a lot of catching up to do.

Comment un vrai Français pourrait-il oublier Jacques Chirac?

As another Frenchy, no it is not satisfactory. It is a good thing when guilty politicians are convicted for their actions. But, it is a bad thing when not guilty politicians, in the midst of an important campaign, are trained in front of judges, arrested, or otherwise prevented to do a normal campaign, so that the justice (in particular the prosecutors, who depend in France hierarchically of the government) can have a huge influence on the election and change completely its course.

This happened two times in a row, in the last two presidential elections, when the then most popular contendant according to polls got problems with justice, which both time effectively ruined his campaign and chances of elections. Namely this happened to DSK in 2012 and Fillon in 2017. I note that DSK has since been found *not guilty*, and that Fillon, one year after the election, has still never been convinced of anything. If you do not see the problem with that interference of the justice in democratic affairs, and you're representative, one can effectively say that democracy is dead in France.

Joel, Vivian,

Everything you guys said is true.

Joel, i see the glass half full and you see it half empty but the state of the glass doesn't change. The current situation is bad but i feel like it is getting better, albeit at a slow pace, too slow.

Regarding the FIllon/DSK case, i am wondering if the judges should be solely blamed, given the brutal media campaign, especially in the case of Fillon.

And when multinational corporations, who have binding fiduciary obligations to global shareholders that trump any sort of national or patriotic concerns, pour money into US campaigns?

Corporations have binding fiduciary obligations to maximize shareholder returns; that is all. They are not responsible for the greater global good. Voters elect governments to regulate industry and commerce. It's also why corporations lobby (or bribe) governors.

" binding fiduciary obligations to maximize shareholder returns; that is all"

That's rich

Tips for young players: *

As my university physics professor used to say, stomping his foot: 'This will be on the final exam'.


I wonder what ol' Sarky did to piss off the socialists? The left always eats its own...

Spaniards wonder when we'll both see Mariano Rarotonga, current president, answer for decades of bribery and illegal funding of his party. There's also the populo-communists of Podemos, who were funded from Venezuela prior to their economy going to hell.

Taking corruption seriously is arguably the west's biggest political problem: Corrupt democracies lose credibility, and we end up with authoritarian governments all over again.

“More where that came from”

Tony Blair? Extent of UK cooperation with Gaddafi revealed

I think Qaddafi would have still been alive if he had bought Manchester United and/or Paris Saint Germain that were for sale at that time. But the investment was 20 times higher.

Latest news: Sarkozy "mis en examen", that is, essentially, indicted.

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