Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi might have helped finance French President Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign, a report published late Monday by the Guardian said.The British newspaper cited the French investigative website Mediapart which claimed to have seen a confidential note suggesting that Gaddafi had contributed up to $66 million (50 million euro) to Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign.The claims could have damaging effect on the French president who is seeking a second term in office.
According to the newspaper report, similar allegations emerged a year ago when Gaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam claimed that Tripoli had helped finance the 2007 campaign and demanded Sarkozy, who led the war on the Libyan leader, to return the money. Seif al-Islam at then threatened to make details of the bank transfers public after the French leader threw his weight behind opposition forces.A spokesman for the Elysée Palace denied the claims and then and told Le Monde: “We deny it, quite evidently.”The Guardian quoted Mediapart journalist Fabrice Arfi as saying that he had seen the leaked documents contained in the legal dossier of the affair. “We knew these documents existed but it is the first time we have had the details of what was in them,” Arfi said. “And there are lots of details, including dates, places and amounts,” he said.One document, according to Arfi, was a government briefing note that points to Sarkozy’s visits to Libya with his close advisers, which, the document says, were aimed at securing campaign funding.The former Libyan leader was invited to Paris, shortly after Sarkozy’s election. Gaddafi pitched his famous Bedouin tent in the grounds of an official French residence close to the Elysée Palace. He was described as the “Brother Leader” by the French people, according to the Guardian.