French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday rejected as “grotesque” claims by lawyers for former Libyan premier Baghdadi al-Mahmudi, that Muammar Qaddafi regime funded his 2007 election campaign.
In a statement quoted by AFP, Sarkozy's spokeswoman dismissed Mahmudi's claim, as did a French-based lawyer who also claimed to be representing Mahmudi.
“How can one for one second give credit to the declarations of a Qaddafi regime former accomplice when they are, by chance, directed against the person who led the international coalition that came to the help of the Libyan people?” read the statement from Sarkozy’s spokeswoman.
Lawyers first made the claim on Thursday in Tunisia, where Mahmudi is in custody after fleeing Libya. The lawyers claimed Mahmudi had told them the Qaddafi regime had financed Sarkozy's 2007 presidential election campaign to the tune of 50 million euros ($65 million).
On Friday, lawyer Slim ben Othman told AFP the matter was even raised in a Tunisian court during an October 25 hearing.
“The question was posed before a judge,” ben Othman told the news agency. “His response is recorded in court minutes.”
Ben Othman said his client claimed to have personally handed 50 million euros to Sarkozy representatives in Geneva.
“A case containing the cash was given over by Mahmudi, accompanied by other Libyan ex-leaders,” ben Othman told AFP, adding that documentary proof of the purported transaction had been placed in “several European capitals.”
The allegations came after the French news website Mediapartpublished a document which it said showed Libya's financing of Sarkozy's campaign.
Sarkozy angrily dismissed Mediapart's document as a forgery, claiming it was timed to destabilize his re-election campaign. He later announced that he is taking legal action against the website.
Mediapart posted what it said was a 2006 document signed by former Libyan intelligence chief Mussa Kussa, referring to an “agreement in principle to support the 2007 campaign for the candidate for the presidential elections, Nicolas Sarkozy, for a sum equivalent to 50 million euros.”
Kussa, who is in exile in Doha, has dismissed the document as a fake.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)