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Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-12-18

A drawn-out case involving claims that former French president Jacques Chirac set up fictitious jobs while he served as mayor of Paris is heading to court after a judge ordered Chirac's indictment on embezzlement charges.

Former French president Jacques Chirac has been indicted on embezzlement charges relating to his time as mayor of Paris, Chirac's press office announced on Friday.

The former French president was indicted by Judge Jacques Gazeaux of the court of Nanterre, north-west of Paris, for allegedly cashing in on the creation of fictitious jobs while he served as mayor of the French capital between 1977 and 1995.

Chirac is accused of having paid seven members of his former RPR party with City Hall funds even though their work was not related to his duties as mayor.

The former president, who testified in the case in July 2007, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. But in October of this year, a Paris court also decided to pursue charges against him in a separate case of alleged misappropriation of public funds.

In a statement on Friday, Chirac’s entourage said: “President Chirac reaffirms that there never was a ‘system’ in place at Paris City Hall. He is determined to ensure that this fact is recognised after the legal proceedings opened by today’s indictment”.

Last month, the former president said "he had nothing to be ashamed of" after French public prosecutors said they would not stand in the way of his indictment, paving the way for a trial.

Though the investigation began in the late 1990s, Chirac himself was only put under formal investigation two years ago because he benefited from judicial immunity while he was president, between 1995 and 2007.

Date created : 2009-12-18


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