Documentary proof exists that France's former President Nicolas Sarkozy took more than €50m from the late Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, a French judge has been told.
The claim, leaked today, was made just before Christmas by a Lebanese-born businessman, Ziad Takieddine, who has been a fixer for legal - and allegedly illegal - dealings between France and the Middle East for 20 years.
Expanding on claims already made by one of Mr Gaddafi's sons and a French investigative website, Mr Takieddine told an investigative judge that he could show him written proof that Mr Sarkozy's first presidential campaign in 2006-7 was "abundantly" financed by Tripoli. The payments, he said, continued after Mr Sarkozy became President.
In total, he said, they exceeded the €50m in illegal payments to Mr Sarkozy claimed by Mr Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam just before the demise of the Libyan regime - thanks partly to French and British airstrikes - in 2011.
Mr Takieddine's claims were rejected today as "outrageous" and "self-interested" by sources close to Mr Sarkozy. Last year President Sarkozy denounced a similar claim by the investigative website Mediapart as "grotesque"
link to www.independent.co.uk