Burkina Faso denies giving money to Chirac

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Burkina Faso on Monday rejected as "grotesque" allegations that its president was among African leaders who gave money for an election campaign of French ex-president Jacques Chirac.

"It is an absolutely grotesque statement by someone who ... wants to crucify his former friends because of problems of positioning in French politics," Alain Edouard Traore, a spokesman for the government of President Blaise Compaore, told journalists.

"I really don't see what we, Burkina Faso, have to do with this French story. Let them sort out their own problems!" he said.

French lawyer Robert Bourgi claimed Monday that five African leaders, including Compaore, contributed about $10 million to Chirac's 2002 election campaign.

Bourgi a long-time unofficial pointman between French and African leaders widely reported to be close to incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy, said he was coming forward because he wanted a "clean France".

He said the system of kickbacks had also existed under former presidents Georges Pompidou, Valerie Giscard d'Estaing and Francois Mitterrand.

Traore, also communications minister, said Ouagadougou was confident there was not "the least proof" of Bourgi's claims.

"He said he has a problem with his conscience. We have no problem with our conscience," he said, adding there were no plans to take Bourgi to court.

"Someone who makes such grave statements and has problems with his conscience -- I ask questions about his credibility, his moral sense and his psychological balance."

© 2011 AFP

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