London mayor fumes over Iraq cigar case probe

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London Mayor Boris Johnson poured scorn Tuesday on a "ludicrous" police investigation into how he came into possession of a cigar case belonging to former Iraqi deputy premier Tariq Aziz.

Johnson, who took office last month as the opposition Conservatives' most powerful politician, accused the governing Labour Party of triggering the probe, which he jokingly likened to a "war crime".

The former journalist admitted to having found the red leather cigar case among the bombed-out debris of Aziz's home while visiting Iraq as a reporter in 2003. He wrote about it at the time, and kept it as a trophy of his trip.

Little more was said about it -- until Labour aides unearthed the story during recent campaigning for London mayor, which saw a close-fought race between him and veteran Labour mayor Ken Livingstone.

"They found the article, and with bulging eyes they went to the Metropolitan Police and demanded that I be prosecuted," he wrote in The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

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