Sarkozy cries 'infamy' over claim that he was bankrolled by Gaddafi


An unpleasant election campaign turned even nastier and more confusing yesterday. After days of making baseless accusations of his own, President Nicolas Sarkozy claimed that he was the "victim" of a smear plot by the Socialist front-runner, François Hollande.

A left-leaning investigative website published a six-year-old Libyan intelligence document at the weekend which suggested that Colonel Muammar Gaddafi had helped to fund Mr Sarkozy's run for the presidency in 2007. In a frantic day of allegations, denials and denials-of-denials, Mr Sarkozy cried "infamy" and political "manipulation".

He said that story had been inspired by Mr Hollande's campaign as a "diversion". The website, Mediapart, insisted that the 2006 document, authorising a payment of €50m (£40.7m) to Mr Sarkozy's campaign, was genuine and the fruit of months of journalistic investigation. But the former Libyan official to whom the document was addressed, now living in Paris, cast doubt on its authenticity.

The President trails Mr Hollande by eight to 10 points in opinion polls before the second round of the presidential election on 6 May. Mr Sarkozy has teetered on the edge of hysteria in campaign meetings and TV appearances in recent days, implying or even stating that Mr Hollande is the candidate of Islam.

One of France's richest men, François Pinault, the owner of Christie's, suggested in comments in Le Monde yesterday that Mr Sarkozy was behaving like Hitler "in his bunker in 1945". Several other figures on the moderate right of French politics have also distanced themselves from Mr Sarkozy's efforts to capture the 17.9 per cent of voters who supported the far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen, in the first round last Sunday.

As if that was not enough, the political ghost of Dominique Strauss-Kahn returned over the weekend to haunt his former Socialist colleagues and President Sarkozy alike. Once again, there were confusing allegations and counter-allegations.

On Saturday, The Guardian carried an interview with Mr Strauss-Kahn by an American investigative journalist, Edward Jay Epstein. The former IMF chief and one-time Socialist presidential front-runner was quoted as saying that forces "close to Mr Sarkozy" had manipulated legal events to destroy his political career after his disputed sexual encounter with a chambermaid in a New York hotel room last May.

Yesterday, Mr Strauss-Kahn issued a statement in Paris saying he had never given an interview to Mr Epstein – or at least not one intended for publication in a newspaper..

In a speech in Clermont-Ferrand on Saturday night, Mr Sarkozy attempted to turn Mr Strauss-Kahn's accusations into an embarrassment for Mr Hollande. He said Mr Strauss-Kahn – the man the Socialists had "really" wanted to be President – should have the "decency to shut his mouth" or to talk only to investigators and lawyers.

Mr Strauss-Kahn did embarrass some of his former Socialist colleagues on Saturday night. He turned up at a birthday party for a Socialist member of parliament attended by several Hollande campaign dignitaries, including the former presidential candidate, Ségolène Royal.

Ms Royal left the Paris restaurant rather than be seen or photographed with Mr Strauss-Kahn.

New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Web Application Support Manager

£60000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Reigate...

** Secondary Geography Teacher Required In Liverpool **

£120 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Secon...

** Female PE Teacher Urgently Required In Liverpool **

£120 - £165 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Secon...

** Secondary Maths Teacher Required In Liverpool **

£120 - £165 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Secon...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments