Takieddine and Total in Libya

Franco-Lebanese arms dealer and business intermediary Ziad Takieddine was paid almost 7 million euros by French oil and gas giant Total, on the sidelines of a gas contract agreed with the Libyan regime of Colonol Muammar Gaddafi. The payment of $9.8 million dollars (6.9 million euros) was made in the autumn of 2009. Total subsequently confirmed making the payment, which it described as “regular practice”.

Go back to summary: The Takieddine files

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20.08.2011

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The new memorandum of understanding signed by Total

Following the failure of the first memorandum of understanding (MOU), a second MOU was signed between Total and the Libyan National Oil Corporation on August 29th 2009, three weeks after Ziad Takieddine’s notes referring to Claude Guéant.

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20.08.2011

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Total agrees an early downpayment for North Global’s rights

As early as September 17th 2009, the managing director of Ziad Takieddine’s company North Global Oil & Gas demanded an initial 20% instalment payment for the rights acquired by Total and which North Global claims to hold. Patrick Pouyanné, head of Total’s Exploration & Production division, replied on September 30th that an MOU was not equivalent to a contract. But Total obligingly offered to make a down payment to North Global Oil of 7%, worth $9.8 million (6.9m euros), to be transferred in euros to Ziad Takieddine’s account.

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Sarkozy’s chief-of-staff gives Takieddine and Total a helping hand

While the initial scheme for the deal between Total and the Libyan National Oil Corporation became stalled, the negotiations were soon to be resumed and brought to a successful conclusion, thanks to the political intervention by President Nicolas Sarkozy’s chief-of-staff Claude Guéant. In a document dated August 7th 2009, Ziad Takieddine lays out the complications encumbering the discussions between Total and the Libyan ‘people’s committee’ in charge of approving the exploration and production contract (EPSA IV). Claude Guéant’s initials make a surprise appearance in that document: "CG will call CdM [Total’s CEO Christophe de Margerie] on Thursday for the signing of the revised EPSA IV contract (Mabruk and Al Jorf) and the Memorandum for the new EPSA IV".

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Total confirms the deal with North Global

On January 20th 2009, Total announced that its board of directors had approved the deal to buy all the rights held by Takieddine’s company North Global Oil & Gas to block NC-7 for $140 million.

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When Takieddine told Total how to proceed

After the talks between Total and the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) proved productive, Ziad Takieddine wrote a note dated December 12th 2008 in which he advised that the NOC should not be officially in the know about the deals between Total and North Global Oil, suggesting the agreement to purchase the option from North Global should even be "destroyed". In an e-mail, Takieddine explained that this arrangement was designed to "avoid any connotation" of commission-based consultancy deals.

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$140 million for North Global Oil & Gas

On December 19th, Total sent an official letter of confirmation of agreement to the Libyan National Oil Corporation. Meanwhile, Total’s Exploration & Production division chief Patrick Pouyanné sent a "confidential" letter to North Global Oil, in which Total acknowledged receipt of the document proving the Vaduz-based company’s rights to block NC-7, and states that, after having made "contact with the Libyan authorities", Total was now in a position to make a new and far more substantial offer. The French oil giant would buy all the rights in question, for which Pouyanné proposes "a one-off payment of $140 million to your company". Naturally, North Global accepted.

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A Luxembourg company joins the chase for gas and riches in Libya

On December 3rd 2008, Total’s CEO Christophe de Margerie received a letter from a company called North Global Oil & Gas Company Ltd, domiciled in Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein, offering to help Total procure exploration and production rights to the gas field called ‘block NC-7’. The letter (see Scribd box immediately below) was signed by a certain Louis Oehri, managing director of the North Global company, which was bankrolled by Takieddine. North Global said it held an option on the "acreage" in question, but offered to "withdraw" in return for a 20% "participation interest" in any future exploration and production sharing agreement (EPSA) secured by Total.

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Total provides a more detailed plan of its projects in Libya

In July 2008, total sent Ziad Takieddine a working document with a more detailed account of its objectives in Libya, in which a coveted field is referred to as "block NC-7". Total’s geologists suspected substantial deposits of natural gas there, an energy source in which the French multinational saw great potential.

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Takieddine becomes an advisor for Total

On June 17th 2008, the Total group sent Ziad Takieddine an email containing a draft letter it had prepared to be sent to the Libyan national oil Company, with which Total wanted to begin negotiations notably for exploration in the Murzuq district in southern Libya, onshore and offshore gas projects in the west, and development of the Azzawiya oil refinery.