Sarkozy to file complaint in Gaddafi funding claim

A news website claims that Nicolas Sarkozy was offered campaign financing from Muammar Gaddafi for his first presidential bid.

Paris: French President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed on Monday to file a complaint against a news website that claims to have evidence he was offered campaign financing from late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi for his first presidential bid.

Sarkozy has vigorously denied the allegation, which was first levied by one of Gaddafi`s sons last year as France was pressing for international airstrikes against Gaddafi`s forces to end a crackdown on rebels.

Although no evidence has emerged that the funding ever took place, French website Mediapart reported on Saturday it had obtained a 2006 Libyan document signed by Gaddafi`s then-intelligence chief Moussa Koussa with an offer by the regime to spend EUR 50 million (USD 66 million) on Sarkozy`s campaign.

Sarkozy said on Monday that he would file a complaint before the end of the current presidential campaign, again denying that there was any truth to the claim.

"Those who lie, those who tell falsehoods should be condemned by the justice system," he told France 2 television on Monday. Once the complaint is filed, prosecutors will have to decide if it warrants an investigation, which could lead to charges.

Sarkozy, who is trailing challenger Socialist Francois Hollande in the polls for Sunday`s presidential runoff, also accused Mediapart of being a mouthpiece for the left.

Francois Bonnet, the editorial director for the site, rejected that accusation.
"It`s simply grotesque and defamatory," he said.

Hollande also dismissed the claim, saying he had no link to the site and noting that it sometimes goes after politicians on the left.

"(Do) I need newspapers to bring up scandals? You think that`s how I plan to win the Presidential Election?," Hollande asked on Europe-1 radio.

Bureau Report