France's top appeals court has authorized a corruption probe into whether three African presidents used state funds to buy luxury goods in France.

The court ruled Tuesday that a magistrate can investigate allegations against President Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea, President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo, and Gabon's late President, Omar Bongo.

The charges were brought by the anti-corruption group Transparency International.  The group says the presidents and their families used their countries' public funds to buy expensive homes and cars in France.

Transparency International cited a 2007 French police investigation that listed dozens of properties held in France by the three presidents.

Mr. Obiang and Mr. Nguesso have denied wrongdoing, as did Mr. Bongo before his death last year.

Tuesday's ruling overturned an earlier Paris appeals court ruling that halted the probe.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.