France opens inquiry into 'dirty cash' claims: prosecutor
A Paris prosecutor Tuesday opened an inquiry into claims by a French lawyer that former president Jacques Chirac and other politicians accepted money from African states, the prosecutor's office said.
The inquiry will be conducted by financial authorities, it said.
Lawyer Robert Bourgi, a long-time unofficial point man between France's Elysee palace and the regimes in former African colonies, on Sunday made a raft of allegations claiming former African heads of state gave bags of cash to fund presidential campaigns in France.
He claimed as much as 20 million dollars was given to Chirac and his then prime minister Dominique de Villepin, who is a potential presidential candidate in 2012.
Bourgi also accused the former head of the far-right National Front party, Jean-Marie Le Pen of accepting cash for his 1988 presidential bid.
All three leaders have denied these claims and have said they will file defamation complaints against Bourgi.
Bourgi meanwhile has said he is willing to give testimony to a judge.
© 2011 AFP