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Jon Leyne reports for BBC News
"Helmut Kohl is under siege"
 real 28k

Berlin correspondent Rob Broomby
"Prosecutors and a special parliamentary committee are investigating the deal"
 real 28k

Sunday, 30 January, 2000, 06:47 GMT
Kohl denies French connection

Helmut Kohl Helmut Kohl: "Concoction of unproven statements"


Former German chancellor Helmut Kohl has strongly rejected accusations that the late French president Francois Mitterrand sank money into his 1994 election bid.


I at no time received money
Helmut Kohl
In an interview published in the Welt am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday, Mr Kohl echoed an earlier denial by his spokesman that he had discussed money with Mr Mitterrand in a deal to privatise an east German oil refinery.

"I at no time received money, and also had no knowledge whatsoever about shady financial machinations," Mr Kohl said.

Cash-for-campaign claim

A report by German and French television alleged last weekend that Mr Mitterrand arranged for payment of 30m Deutschmarks ($15m) to Mr Kohl's Christian Democrats party (CDU) to help fund the election campaign.

Mr Kohl and Mr Mitterrand in 1994 Mr Kohl and Mr Mitterrand in 1994
The reports said the money was a pay-off for the deal by French oil concern Elf-Aquitaine to buy the Leuna refinery.

Newspapers have claimed that former Elf officials paid under-the-table "commissions" to CDU officials in connection with the sale - in part because Mr Mitterrand, who needed Mr Kohl to implement European economic union, feared the conservative chancellor might lose the election.

'Unproven slander'

Mr Kohl said the accusations were "absurd" and "a terrible concoction of unproven statements, slander and anonymous tips".

Making the Leuna deal happen prevented mass unemployment in the area of the refinery, Mr Kohl said.

He emphasised that he had at no time discussed concrete details of the deal with Mr Mitterrand, saying those were not matters that politicians deal with.

Investigations

The party funding scandal blew up last month when Mr Kohl admitted he had accepted 2m Deutschmarks ($1m) in secret funds from anonymous benefactors.

The former chancellor has consistently refused to name the donors, and is facing both criminal and parliamentary investigations into possible breaches of party financing laws

He said the secret donations went exclusively for party work in east Germany, and denied running a government for sale.

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See also:
24 Jan 00 |  Europe
'French connection' in German scandal
23 Jan 00 |  Europe
New twist in German funding scandal
28 Jan 00 |  Europe
Analysis: Scandal at the heart of Europe
19 Jan 00 |  Europe
Q&A: Germany's party funding scandal

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