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UK judge orders extradition of businessman in French fraud probe

Law Crime

AFP  |  London 

A British judge on Tuesday ordered the extradition of a Franco-Algerian businessman wanted in France as part of a probe into alleged Libyan financing of former president Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign.

Alexandre Djouhri, who has been on conditional bail since his arrest at Heathrow airport in January 2018, said he would appeal the ruling made by London court.

French investigators are examining Alexandre Djouhri's alleged involvement in the 2008 sale of a villa in the French Alps valued at 1.3 million euros (almost $1.4 million) at the "inflated price" of around 10 million euros.

A Libyan investment fund managed by Bashir Saleh, the ex-chief of staff of Libya's deposed leader Moamer Kadhafi, bought the property, and Djouhri is suspected of being its true owner, the London court ruling stated.

Djouhri is also accused of paying 500,000 euros to Sarkozy aide Claude Gueant "so that he would use his position to make various interventions to assist Mr Djouhri in his business affairs".

"I was expecting it. It's not a surprise," Djouhri told reporters after the London hearing.

Djouhri also said was the victim of "a judicial trap", calling the case "an absolute masquerade".

Djouhri was released on bail on health grounds in February because of heart problems.

He underwent surgery last year, a source close to the case has said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Tue, February 26 2019. 18:50 IST