Muammar Gaddafi’s regime agreed to fund French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign to the tune of €50 million, a news website reported yesterday, publishing what it said was documentary evidence.

If he had financed it, I wasn’t very grateful- Sarkozy

The 2006 document in Arabic, which website Mediapart said was signed by Gaddafi’s foreign intelligence chief Mussa Kussa, referred to an “agreement in principle to support the campaign for the candidate for the presidential elections, Nicolas Sarkozy, for a sum equivalent to €50 million.”

The left-wing investigative website made similar assertions on March 12, based on testimony by a former doctor of a French arms dealer alleged to have arranged the campaign donation, which Sarkozy slammed as “grotesque”.

“If he had financed it, I wasn’t very grateful,” Sarkozy said sarcastically in a television interview, in an apparent reference to the active role that France played in the Nato campaign that led to the strongman’s ouster last year.

The green-bordered note published and translated by Mediapart said the agreement followed a meeting on October 6, 2006, attended by Gaddafi’s spy chief Abdullah Senussi, the head of Tripoli’s African investment fund Bashir Saleh, close Sarkozy associate Brice Hortefeux and arms dealer Ziad Takieddine.

A lawyer for Takieddine denied to Mediapart that her client was present but said, “he believes this document is credible, given the date and the persons named.”

The latest report by Mediapart, a respected source seen as opposed to Sarkozy’s right-wing government, strengthens long-running allegations that French political camps have benefited financially from kickbacks on arms deals with foreign regimes.

Gaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam last year claimed that Libya financed Sarkozy’s campaign, after Paris abandoned its improving ties with Libya and threw its weight behind the rebellion that eventually deposed and killed the dictator.

“Sarkozy must first give back the money he took from Libya to finance his electoral campaign. We funded it and we have all the details and are ready to reveal everything,” Seif told the Euronews network.