Washington: US President Richard Nixon (1913-94) had a homosexual relationship with banker Charles 'Bebe' Rebozo, according to a forthcoming book by a former White House correspondent.

'Nixon's Darkest Secrets: The Inside Story of America's Most Troubled President', by Don Fulsom, casts a different light on Nixon's well-known friendship with the Florida banker and businessman, reported a newspaper.

The claim jars with Nixon's reputation for homophobic remarks, the paper said, citing an incident recounted on the gay news Web site Queerty.

“When a close aide to President Johnson was caught having sex with a former sailor in a YMCA bathroom, Nixon called the man 'ill”, and added that such people 'cannot be in places of high trust',” Queerty said.

Nixon often vacationed at Rebozo's Miami-area residence during his 1969-74 tenure in the White House.

The paper also cited a report by Britain's Daily Mail saying that the FBI had linked Rebozo, who died in 1998, to prominent organized crime figures Santo Trafficante and Alfred 'Big Al' Polizzi.

Fulsom's research for the book was based on interviews with former White House staffers and lawmakers and examination of official documents, publisher Thomas Dunne Books says on its Web site.

The book, which is due out at the end of next month, also accuses Nixon of abusing wife Pat and maintains that the president's aides referred to him as 'our drunk.

Fulsom, who worked for United Press International, covered the Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton administrations.

(Agencies)