If true, this would be one of the juiciest political scandals of the century.
A French magazine is reporting that Libya's former strongman Muamar Gaddafi gave more than 66 million euros to the campaign of Nicholas Sakozy in 2007.
The campaign of French presidential front-runner Francois Hollande called for a criminal investigation into President Nicolas Sarkozy after a media report Saturday accused the president of taking 50 million euros ($66.3 million) for his 2007 campaign from then-Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi.
Mediapart, a French online magazine, claimed in its report to have a Gadhafi government document, detailing an agreement to fund the campaign. The alleged document, dated December 10, 2006, states that then-Libyan intelligence chief Moussa Koussa authorized secret payments to Sarkozy through an intermediary, Mediapart reports.
CNN was not immediately able to confirm the authenticity of the published document.
Sarkozy has dismissed the allegation as "grotesque."
During a television interview aired by TF1 last month, Sarkozy addressed the accusation, which has surfaced periodically since at least last year: "If (Gadhafi) had funded (my campaign), frankly, I would not have been very grateful," he said.
France supported the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya that helped to topple the longtime leader. Gadhafi was ousted, then was fatally wounded in a gunbattle that broke out after his capture on October 20. His son and one-time heir apparent Saif al-Islam Gadhafi was captured by Libya's new authorities and is awaiting trial.
During a televised interview with Euronews in March 2011, after France recognized the National Transitional Council as the legitimate authority in Libya, Gadhafi's son claimed Libya contributed to the Sarkozy campaign.
"The first thing we want this clown to do is give the money back to the Libyan people. He was given assistance so he could help them, but he has disappointed us," Saif al-Islam Gadhafi said.
Agreed that Gaddafi's son is hardly a paragon of virtue. But if there's a document that proves the allegation, Mediapart should release it immediately. It should be a fairly easy matter to prove whether it's legit or not.
Hollande should be very careful. If the document is shown to be a forgery, he would look very silly in calling for a criiminal investigation. Perhaps it won't matter since the socialist candidate has a healthy lead over Sarkozy going into the run off election for president on May 6.