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Inquiry launched into Sarkozy Gaddafi finance claim

Paris prosecutors opened an inquiry Monday into President Nicolas Sarkozy's claim that a document allegedly proving he received 2007 campaign funding from deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is a forgery.

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AFP - Prosecutors on Monday opened an enquiry after President Nicolas Sarkozy sued a website that claimed Moamer Kadhafi financed his 2007 presidential election, in the crucial final week before France returns to the polls.

Sarkozy’s complaint, submitted late Monday afternoon, targets the left-wing investigative website Mediapart, its publishing director Edwy Plenel and journalists Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske, judicial officials said.

Arfi and Laske on Saturday co-signed an article that alleged the former Libyan dictator agreed to give 50 million euros ($66 million) to Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign.

The enquiry is to determine whether there is a case of “forgery and use of forged material”, and whether “false news has been spread”.

Sarkozy’s lawyer Thierry Herzog was not immediately available for comment.

Sarkozy has dismissed the document as a “crude forgery” and believes that he is relentlessly targeted by “biased” left-wing media.

“There’s a section of the press, of the media, and notably the site in question whose name I refuse to mention, that is prepared to fake documents, shame on those who have exploited them,” Sarkozy said.

Claims that Kadhafi financed Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign are not new, but Mediapart’s document bearing the signature of Libya’s former foreign intelligence chief Moussa Koussa is.

Koussa, who lives in Qatar, has said the "allegations are false".

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