French President Nicolas Sarkozy
Source: Press TV
French presidential hopeful Francois Hollande has asked for an inquiry into suspected ties between President Nicolas Sarkozy and Libya’s slain dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Hollande’s Socialist party is urging prosecutors to verify reports that Gaddafi financed Sarkozy’s presidential campaign back in 2007.
Earlier, an investigative website revealed a document claiming that Sarkozy received 50 million euro (USD 66.32 million) from Gaddafi for his presidential race.
Mediapart said the agreement came after an October 6, 2006 meeting attended by Gaddafi's spy chief Abdullah Senussi, the head his African investment fund Bashir Saleh, close Sarkozy associate Brice Hortefeux and arms dealer Ziad Takieddine.
It claims that the 2006 document -- allegedly signed by Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief and later foreign minister Moussa Koussa -- were obtained “from the archives of the secret service” through former senior Libyan officials currently in hiding.
Sarkozy refuted the document as “crude forgery” and has lodged a lawsuit against the whistleblower website.
Media reports have recently cited his spokesman as accusing Hollande supporters of rigging up the “absurd” allegation. But Hollande’s spokesman insisted that the sitting president must clarify the issue.
Hollande and Sarkozy will compete in the second round of the French presidential election scheduled for May 6.
In March Sarkozy had to tackle similar allegations made by the former doctor of a French arms dealer who claimed to have set up the campaign donation.
"If [Gaddafi] had financed it, I wasn't very grateful," Sarkozy scoffed when questioned by a TF1 presenter, referring France’s lead role in the NATO campaign that led to Gaddafi’s brutal killing in October.
French politicians are strictly banned from receiving campaign contributions from foreign states, and a French judge is currently looking into allegations made in this regard.
The document has surfaced at a particularly sensitive time for Sarkozy, who lost the first round of the French presidential vote to his staunch Socialist rival, Hollande, who is currently holds the lead in the polls.
Hollande and Sarkozy are to confront each other at a television debate scheduled on Wednesday