Libyan leader says Sarkozy funding letter fake

Libyan leader says Sarkozy funding letter fake

A letter saying that Muammar Gaddafi's government had agreed to fund French President Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign is fake, the head of Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) said on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

Sarkozy has said he would sue news website Mediapart for publishing a document it says proves that Gaddafi's government sought to finance Sarkozy's run at the presidency when he was interior minister.

As Sarkozy fights an uphill battle for re-election, his team is hitting back against the claims in a 2006 letter, allegedly from Libya's former secret services, that discussed an "agreement in principle" to pay 50 million euros for Sarkozy's campaign.

"This is a false letter," NTC Chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil told a news conference.

"After the media reported about this letter, we have seen this letter, and we checked it and we didn't find any reference to this letter in Libyan archives." The greeting in the letter was unusual wording for the previous regime, he added.

In a separate news conference, Libyan government spokesman Nasser El-Manee said: "We don't have any official information about money being transferred to support Sarkozy in his election campaign."

Abdel Jalil also called on France, which led Western backing for last year's insurgency that toppled Gaddafi with the help of NATO air strikes, to hand over Gaddafi's former chief of staff Bashir Saleh.

Sarkozy said on Tuesday Saleh was in France with his family and that France was ready to hand him over if there was an international arrest warrant.

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