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Former President Chirac says he has 'nothing to be ashamed of' ahead of trial

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-11-04

Former French President Jacques Chirac is set to be tried on corruption charges after prosecutors said they would not appeal a judge's decision ordering him to stand trial over a 'ghost jobs' scandal.

French prosecutors announced that they will not appeal a decision to order former French President Jacques Chirac to stand trial.

Investigating magistrate Xaviere Simeoni last week issued an order for the 76-year-old statesman to stand trial on corruption charges, despite the prosecution’s ruling that there was not enough evidence to press charges.

Chirac, who was president for 12 years and mayor of Paris for 18, is accused of using the city payroll during his time as mayor to provide salaries for aides who were in reality working for his right-wing political party. He allegedly created fictitious jobs for nine allies between 1992 and 1995 using city funds.

Chirac said on French radio station Europe 1 on Wednesday that he had “nothing to be ashamed of”, and added he would respect the court order to face court “like any dutiful citizen”. “I will explain myself serenely and with determination because I have done nothing wrong,” the former president said.

“In a way, this is the moment of truth for Chirac”, said FRANCE 24's French politics editor Roselyne Febvre. “There are no more of his close collaborators to take the blame, now it’s his turn to face justice,” she said, adding nevertheless that she does not believe he will be handed “more than a symbolic sentence”.  
News about Chirac's pending trial comes as the former president returns to the public eye - more than two years after leaving the Elysee palace - with the release of his memoirs.
"Every Step Should Be a Goal" goes on sale in bookstores on Thursday but excerpts from the memoirs in which he takes a swipe at some political adversaries have already been leaked to the press.


Date created : 2009-11-04