Frenchman linked to Sarkozy probe faces UK extradition hearing

London (AFP) –


The Franco-Algerian businessman arrested in Britain as part of a probe into France's former president Nicolas Sarkozy claimed on Monday he was a "victim" of French magistrates at his extradition hearing in London.

Alexandre Djouhri is a key figure in the investigation into the alleged Libyan financing of Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign.

Speaking to AFP outside Westminster Magistrates' Court, Djouhri said: "I'm a grandfather, I'm a father and they deny me the right to exist, and that's incredible."

"It's not French justice, it's two magistrates who have made a forgery in writing, and I have absolute proof," he said, naming two French prosecutors.

After several postponements, the extradition hearing began at 1000 GMT with the French state's presentation. The court's decision is expected on Thursday.

Djouhri said he expected judge Vanessa Baraitser to "deliver justice", claiming he was "not a fugitive".

The 59-year-old businessman was summoned several times by the French courts and arrested at London Heathrow Airport in January 2018 on a European arrest warrant.

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

A Libyan investment fund managed by ex-chief of staff Bashir Saleh of Libya's deposed leader Moamer Kadhafi 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.

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.

Djouhri in September called the arrest warrant "fraudulent."

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

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".