French ex-President Jacques Chirac, and presidential hopeful and former PM Dominique de Villepin were given USD 20 M by African leaders, partly to finance election campaigns, a lawyer alleges, according to the BBC. Robert Bourgi said he was personally involved in handing Chirac briefcases full of cash. But he added there was “no proof, no trace” of the secret payments. The ex-leaders vowed to sue Bourgi. They deny the claims, which come seven months before presidential polls. De Villepin is seen as a major centre-right rival to President Nicolas Sarkozy. Chirac is currently on trial in absentia on charges of illegal party funding.