BFF-61 Sarkozy associate faces January UK extradition hearing

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Sarkozy associate faces January UK extradition hearing

LONDON, Nov 5, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – A key figure arrested in Britain as part
of a campaign finance probe in France into former president Nicolas Sarkozy
on Monday had his extradition hearing set for January.

French investigators want to question Alexandre Djouhri over the alleged
illegal financing of Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign by
former Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.

Djouhri will face a four-day hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court in
London from January 21 to 24.

His lawyers sought to have his bail conditions eased but judge Vanessa
Baraitser, hearing the case at the court, refused.

Djouhri was excused attendance for the 40-minute case management hearing.

The extradition hearing will be the next time that the case appears before
the court.

Outstanding defence evidence must be submitted by November 16, with the
French authorities to respond by December 7 and all the documents in the case
to be brought together by December 14.

Five witnesses were being lined up to give evidence in Djouhri’s defence,
including a doctor, the court heard.

Djouhri was detained at London Heathrow Airport in January under a European
arrest warrant.

French investigators are examining the businessman’s alleged involvement in
the 2009 sale of a villa in the French Alps for around 10 million euros.

A Libyan investment fund managed by Kadhafi’s ex-chief of staff Bashir
Saleh bought the property at a “very inflated” price, and Djouhri is
suspected of being its true owner, a source close to the inquiry has told
AFP.

Investigators also suspect he helped Saleh get out of France in early 2012,
in a private jet headed for Niger, as he faced a Libyan arrest warrant a few
months after Kadhafi’s overthrow.

Djouhri was released on bail on health grounds in February after suffering
from heart problems.

He underwent surgery earlier this year, a source close to the case
previously told AFP.

A planned interview with French judicial officials last month did not take
place.

Djouhri must adhere to bail conditions which mean he must stay in his home
from 2:00am to 6:00am and report to a police station between 12:00pm and
4:00pm.

He must also remain within the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea and
the neighbouring City of Westminster district.

Djouhri’s lawyer Mark Summers said the bail conditions were “extremely
onerous”.

Lawyer Ben Watson, appearing on behalf of the French authorities,
countered: “We remain opposed to any variation of the current conditions.”

Judge Baraitser concluded: “This court needs to be able to fix his
whereabouts on a regular basis.

“There is no other condition that allows the court to do that,” other than
reporting to a police station.

“In those circumstances, I do not allow the variation of his bail.”

Sarkozy faces trial for illegal campaign financing and has been charged
with accepting millions of euros in funding from Kadhafi.

BSS/AFP/MRI/1953 hrs