Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had agreed to fund French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign – to the tune of 50 million euro, a new report says.
The Paris-based investigative website Mediapart published “documentary evidence” that Gaddafi was ready to stump up tens of millions of dollars to help Sarkozy win the French presidential race.
Mediapart claimed Saturday that the 2006 document was provided by "former senior [Libyan] officials, who are now in hiding." They further claim the document came “from the archives of the secret service,” and was signed by Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief and later foreign minister, Moussa Koussa.
In it, Koussa noted “an agreement in principle to support the campaign for the candidate for presidential election, Nicolas Sarkozy, for a sum equivalent to 50 million euro."
Sarkozy attempted to deflect the allegations when confronted by a TF1 presenter, saying, "If [Gaddafi] had financed it, I wasn't very grateful." Sarkozy’s sarcastic comeback was in reference to France’s lead role in the NATO campaign that led to Gaddafi’s brutal demise.
'It's obviously an attempt to draw away attention after Dominique Strauss-Kahn is back on stage,' Nicolas Sarkozy told the French media.
On Friday the former IMF-chief, who was once tipped to win France's presidential vote, but dropped out of the race after a sex scandal, claimed Sarkozy and other political rivals orchestrated his downfall.
'This only plays into Socialists' hands as they don't want to be reminded that they were going to make him the next French president,' Sarkozy added.
It’s not the first time the French president denies allegations his 2007 campaign was sponsored by Tripoli.
In March 2012 Sarkozy also rejected claims he took €50 million from Muammar Gaddafi.
The scandal with alleged finance from Libya dates back to March 2011 when Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam demanded that Sarkozy return the money his family had given for the 2007 campaign:
“He's disappointed us. We have all the bank details and documents for the transfer operations and we will make everything public soon," – threatened Saif al-Islam in a TV interview during the NATO-backed military campaign in Libya.
French politicians are banned from receiving campaign contributions from foreign states, and a French judge is currently looking into the allegations.
The latest document has surfaced at a particularly sensitive time for Sarkozy, who lost the first round of the French presidential vote and is currently trailing his Socialist rival Francois Hollande in the polls.
The second round of the presidential election is scheduled for May 6.