France's Sarkozy denies taking money from Gadhafi
updated 10:30 AM EDT, Tue March 13, 2012
French President Nicolas Sarkozy announces his re-election bid on French television on February 15, 2012.
- Sarkozy calls the allegation that he took campaign funds from Gadhafi "grotesque"
- He challenges Saif al-Islam Gadhafi to produce proof of donations in 2007
- Sarkozy is running for re-election as president of France, with voting on April 22
Editor's note: Read this story in Arabic.
(CNN) -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy has denied taking money from the Gadhafi family during his 2007 run for France's highest office, calling the allegation "grotesque."
He said the late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi was "known for talking nonsense," and challenged his son Saif al-Islam Gadhafi to produce records of the donations.
Sarkozy was responding to allegations which surfaced on the Internet ahead of the French presidential election scheduled for April 22.
"I am sorry that a big channel like TF1 is taking from information from the documents from Mr. Gadhafi or his son," Sarkozy said in the interview, which aired on Monday night on TF1.
French president: 'Too many foreigners'
No shock in France: Sarkozy will run
"When one quotes Mr. Gadhafi, who is dead, or his son, who is standing trial, the credibility is zero. And when you drag up their accounts with these questions you are asking, you quite degrade this political debate," he said in an attack on interviewer Laurence Ferrari.
Gadhafi was toppled in a civil war last year and killed after several months in hiding. His one-time heir apparent, Saif al-Islam was captured by Libya's new authorities and is awaiting trial.
It's the second time in as many weeks that Sarkozy has made headlines with a nationally televised interview.
Last week, he said France has too many foreigners and is not integrating them properly.
"Today we have a problem," Sarkozy said on France 2 TV on March 6.
"Our system of integration is working worse and worse, because we have too many foreigners on our territory and we can no longer manage to find them accommodation, a job, a school," he said.
France places a premium on national identity, pressing the population to put "Frenchness" before religion or national background.
Sarkozy is running for a second term in office.
He faces a strong challenge from Francois Hollande of the Socialist party and a range of candidates from smaller parties, including the far-right Marine Le Pen.
If no candidate wins a majority in the first round, there will be a second round on May 6, with the top two finishers facing off.
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 2:18 AM EST, Fri February 8, 2013
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.