Col Muammar Gaddafi's regime had drawn up plans for a £9 million slush fund to pay British and foreign campaigners to turn the tide of public opinion against Nato's intervention in Libya.
Documents discovered in an abandoned government building in Tripoli, and seen by The Daily Telegraph, contain the minutes of a meeting at which officials suggested paying up to £2 million to selected foreigners they thought would be sympathetic to Gaddafi.
Although there is no evidence that Gaddafi's ministers went through with the plan, the document, drawn up after the start of the revolution in February, sheds light on the increasingly desperate measures being discussed by the crumbling regime.
Among the activists identified in the papers was David Hoile, a lobbyist. The paper said the Gaddafi government was prepared to pay Mr Hoile £200,000 a week, up to a total of £2 million, to establish an anti-war think tank, called the Centre for Non-Intervention.
Gaddafi officials also suggested approaching the Labour peer Lord Ahmed, a Muslim who has been to Libya to campaign for peace in the past.
Both men ridiculed suggestions that they had been approached by the Gaddafi regime or received any money.
The document was found in the abandoned office of Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, the deposed prime minister. It was located in files filled with papers relating to Mr Mahmoudi's drive to stop Nato bombing military targets.
It said: "It has been agreed to sign a contract to pay £200,000 a week or £2 million in total to David Hoile, a British passport holder, to do the following: Establish a Centre for Non-Intervention to release reports and studies, host lectures and conferences, to include selective political thinkers well known in Britain. Its goal is to reject foreign intervention in Libya and around the world." Mr Hoile said he had travelled to Tripoli three times since the uprising began in February.
"I made three visits, the first was in February or March, the second was in May and the third in June or July. There were dozens of other people there including a large number of journalists," he said. "I would be surprised if my name did not appear in documents but I did not, and have not, received a penny from their government. If I had received £2 million I would probably be now speaking to you from a yacht."
The proposal also envisaged recruiting Lord Ahmed, and Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, a leading barrister, to publicly oppose the drive to bring Gaddafi, his son Saif and intelligence chief Abdullah Sennusi before the International Criminal Court.
Lord Ahmed said yesterday that the regime never put the proposal to him.
"I am very unhappy about it. I went to Tripoli, it wasn't a secret visit, I was on a mission for peace at that time. I did a press conference and spoke to lots of people," he said. "I have not been party to anything to do with the Gaddafi regime and I have never mentioned the Gaddafi regime in any of my speeches in the House or elsewhere."
Sir Geoffrey could not be contacted yesterday but his name separately features in a letter from solicitors Edwards Duthie. Setting out the terms of instruction, the letter estimates that the firm was prepared to charge up to £1 million to take legal action to stop the British Government handing over Libyan assets to the opposition National Transitional Council.
Shaun Murphy, the senior partner, informed Khalid Kaim, Gaddafi's deputy foreign minster, that he was planning to instruct Sir Geoffrey to represent the regime in the courts. The Libyan government had paid £360,000 to the firm on account by the end of July.
The proposal to pay groups for spreading Libya's message also identifies seven foreigners that the regime was hoping to pay £500,000 for undertaking fact-finding missions in Tripoli, including David Roberts, a Socialist Labour Party activist, and British resident Mohammad Elhaddad.
Mr Roberts led a British Civilians For Peace in Libya mission to Tripoli in April during which he told the press that there was "no evidence" that the regime had bombarded its own people to quell protests in the capital.
Mr Roberts could not be reached for comment yesterday. The overall budget for the political and public relations campaign was set at €10 million (£8.8 million), to be allotted from a sanctions-breaking bank account ultimately controlled by the regime's henchmen. Its activities were to take place in Britain, France and America.