Roger Garaudy, a French communist intellectual who denied that the Nazis used gas chambers to kill Jews during World War II, has died aged 98, officials said.

Garaudy was fined 120,000 francs ($18,000) by a Paris court in 1998 for his anti-Zionist work "The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics" which was found to have distorted the wartime deaths of an estimated six million Jews.

He died on Wednesday in the Paris suburb of Chennevieres, local officials said on Friday.

Garaudy, who was born into a Protestant family before converting to Catholicism and later to Islam, joined the French resistance and was held in Algeria as a prisoner of war of France's collaborationist Vichy regime.

He joined the French Communist Party after the war and was elected to the French parliament and became a member of the Senate.

He was expelled from the Communist Party in 1970 after he criticised the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Source: AFP