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'Sarkozy got 50 million euros from Gaddafi'

United Kingdom,Politics, Sun, 29 Apr 2012 IANS

London, April 29 (IANS) A document has been made public in Paris that says French President Nicolas Sarkozy received 50 million euros (around $65 million) from slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi that propelled Sarkozy to power in 2007, the Daily Mail reported.


French law bans candidates from receiving cash payments above 6,300 pounds, but a news website claimed that the massive donation was laundered through bank accounts in Panama and Switzerland.


Written in Arabic and signed by Mussa Kussa, Gaddafi's intelligence chief, in 2006, the document referred to an "agreement in principle to support the campaign for the candidate for the presidential elections, Nicolas Sarkozy, for a sum equivalent to 50 million euros".


The daily said Sarkozy faces an uphill battle to be re-elected president, with his Socialist rival Francois Hollande enjoying an opinion poll lead of up to 10 percent.


The evidence was leaked by senior members of Libya's National Transitional Council, the organisation now governing the country after the death of Gaddafi, to investigative French news website Mediapart.


Various information has been published in the past by the press relating to France's relationship with the Gaddafi regime.


A governmental briefing sent to Mediapart points to numerous visits to Libya reportedly by Sarkozy and his colleagues.


One, said to have taken place Oct 6, 2005, led to "campaign finance to NS" being "all paid". It is assumed to be a reference to Sakozy, the Daily Mail reported.


Mediapart claims that the 50 million euros referred to in the note was laundered through accounts including a Swiss one opened in the name of the sister of Jean-Francois Cope, the leader of Sarkozy's ruling UMP party.


Gaddafi made a state visit to Paris in 2007. He was reportedly referred to as the "Brother Leader" by the French president, and allowed to pitch his tent next to the presidential Elysee Palace.


The report said that as France's head of state, Sarkozy cannot be prosecuted while in office, but if he loses the presidential election, it would pave the way for a full investigation.


The Elysee Palace did not comment on the allegations.


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