Picture library giant Corbis has dismissed as ?speculation? reports that millions of photographs from its Sygma archive are set to be destroyed.

Last year Sygma was forced into liquidation by owner Corbis, which had acquired the renowned French press photo agency more than a decade earlier.

Part of the Sygma archive is now managed by the liquidator.

French blog, A l?Oeil, claims that the liquidator is about to trash up to 12 million of Sygma?s images after a failed bid to sell the photos at auction earlier this month.

But Corbis spokesman Dan Perlet refuted the report and stressed that, in any case, the photographers legally own the rights to pictures held in the Sygma archive.

Perlet told Amateur Photographer: ?The liquidator is making every effort to return the images to the photographers, and the liquidator ? to our knowledge ? has no intention of destroying the images.’

He said that 75% of Sygma?s 50 million photos are held at a preservation facility near Paris.

However, he said Corbis has not been able to sign up the photographers who captured the remainder, saying that ?some declined or couldn?t be found?.

Perlet added: ?25% remain in Sygma?s Access and Preservation Facility at this time, and the liquidator is working to contact all photographers to have them reclaim [the images] by sending, where possible, correspondence to these photographers.

?The liquidator, to our knowledge, has not detailed what will happen to the images if the photographers who took them can?t be found, but he has not indicated any intention to destroy them, and suggestions that they will be destroyed are purely speculation and rumour.’