Gaddafi interpreter says Libya funded Sarkozy campaign

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy on a visit to London, 3 June 2013 Mr Sarkozy spearheaded the Nato campaign against Muammar Gaddafi

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Muammar Gaddafi's interpreter has said Libya helped finance Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign in France - an allegation Mr Sarkozy denies.

Moftah Missouri said Gaddafi had told him personally that $20m (£13m; 15m euros) were donated to the campaign.

The allegations against Mr Sarkozy, first made by one of Gaddafi's sons, are already being investigated.

However Mr Missouri was quoted by a French newspaper last year, saying he had been unaware of any such payments.

Le Figaro, a conservative daily, interviewed the former interpreter when he visited Paris in April 2012.

In the new interview, Mr Missouri said: "Gaddafi himself told me personally, verbally, that Libya had transferred about $20m."

He was speaking in a video clip posted by France's Mediapart news website, with the full interview due to air on French public TV later on Thursday.

Gaddafi died from bullet wounds in 2011, after ruling Libya for more than 40 years.

Denials

It was during Nato-led air strikes on Libya in 2011 that Saif al-Islam, Gaddafi's son, first accused Mr Sarkozy of taking millions of his father's money for campaign funding.

Led by the then President Sarkozy, France spearheaded Nato's military campaign.

A French inquiry which opened this year was due to look at charges of "active and passive corruption", "influence peddling" and other issues, a judicial source told AFP news agency in April.

Mr Sarkozy, who lost the 2012 presidential election to Francois Hollande, is also under formal investigation over claims he received illegal donations for the 2007 race from France's richest woman, 90-year-old L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.

He has denied all the allegations.

He has previously hinted that he may consider another run for the presidency in 2017, but the outcome of these investigations could determine whether he will make a return to politics, observers say.

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