Probe targets Gadhafi-Sarkozy campaign fund claim

Associated Press Modified: April 30, 2012 at 2:01 pm •  Published: April 30, 2012
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PARIS (AP) — French prosecutors are investigating a news website that claims to have evidence that Libya's late dictator Moammar Gadhafi offered campaign funds to France's president.

The investigation was opened Monday after President Nicolas Sarkozy filed a formal complaint against French website Mediapart.

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

Although no evidence has emerged that the funding ever took place, Mediapart reported Saturday it had obtained a 2006 Libyan document signed by Gadhafi's then-intelligence chief Moussa Koussa with an offer by the regime to spend €50 million ($66 million) on Sarkozy's first presidential bid.

Sarkozy's complaint accused Mediapart of "forgery" and "publication of false news," according to the prosecutor's office. The complaint named Edwy Plenel, the site's executive editor, and two other journalists. After the investigation, the prosecutor will decide whether to file charges.