Paris, Aug 31: French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his allies are vigorously denying allegations in a new book that he took illegal campaign cash from the heiress to the L'Oreal cosmetics fortune five years ago.
Claims that billionaire Liliane Bettencourt gave tens of thousands of euros to Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign first emerged last year during investigations into Bettencourt's finances.
A book being released Thursday quotes investigating judge Isabelle Prevost-Desprez as saying a witness she questioned about the claims “told me that he had seen cash handed over to” Sarkozy himself.
Prevost-Desprez was later taken off the case.
Sarkozy's office denied the claims Wednesday and his allies suggested a campaign ploy. Sarkozy is expected to seek re-election next year. AP