PARIS (AFP) - Sleaze claims hurt French President Nicolas Sarkozys re-election hopes on Thursday when the best man at his wedding was charged with graft by judges probing alleged kickbacks on an arms deal. Just seven months before the French leader is to go to the country to seek another five-year mandate, businessman Nicolas Bazire became the latest in a string of close allies to be confronted by a criminal investigation. It is alleged that a 1995 presidential campaign by Sarkozy mentor Edouard Balladur was funded through a Pakistani submarine contract, which magistrates suspect indirectly led to a Karachi bomb attack that left 11 Frenchmen dead. Sarkozys office hit back strongly after the Bazire charge became public. Mr Nicolas Sarkozy did not manage Mr Edouard Balladurs campaign. He never exercised the slightest authority in the financing of this campaign, the Elysee said, denouncing slander and petty political manipulation. As far as the so-called 'Karachi affair is concerned, the head of states name does not appear in any part of the dossier. His name has been cited by no witness nor actor in this case, the Elysee said. The presidency did not explain how it could know whether or not Sarkozys name had come up in a supposedly secret independent judicial probe, a matter of hours after Bazire had been released from questioning. Bazire, a businessman and former government official who was best man at Sarkozys wedding to supermodel Carla Bruni in February 2008, was detained on Wednesday and questioned overnight before being charged. Bazires lawyer, Jean-Yves Lienard, said that during questioning and prior to his release on bail his client affirmed his total lack of involvement in the matter and branded witness claims to the contrary fantasist. Another Sarkozy ally, Thierry Gaubert, was charged on Wednesday as part of the probe into the Pakistani deal. Both men are now subject to judicial probes into misuse of public funds and could face trial, judicial sources said. Prosecutors suspect middlemen paid huge kickbacks on the Pakistani contract to former prime minister Balladurs 1995 presidential campaign, for which the then budget minister Sarkozy served as chief spokesman. Bazire, 54, was Balladurs one time chief of staff and campaign manager. Gaubert worked for Sarkozy when he was mayor of the Paris suburb of Neuilly and was his communications adviser as minister. Witnesses have told investigators Bazire had a large safe stuffed with cash during the 1995 campaign. He is now a member of the board of luxury goods giant LVMH, whose shares dropped 6.1 percent Thursday in a falling market. Controversy over the arms contract erupted when investigators began probing whether a 2002 bomb attack in Karachi that killed 11 French engineers working on the project was a revenge attack for promised bribes not paid. Investigators and relatives of the French dead suspect Pakistanis staged the bomb attack - officially blamed on al Qaeda - in revenge. Sarkozy has dismissed claims that Balladurs campaign took kickbacks on the deal. Nevertheless, the charges against two of his closest allies pushed the story back onto the front pages Thursday, completely overshadowing Sarkozys speech to the United Nations General Assembly on the Middle East crisis. Investigators are probing links between Gaubert and the Franco-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine, who was charged last week with fraud over arms contracts with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in which he was allegedly middleman.