Former interior minister Charles Pasqua has been sentenced in Paris to a one-year suspended prison sentence for abuse of public funds and attempt to conceal evidence in connection with a public organisation which sells police equipment abroad.
A French court sentenced former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua to a one-year suspended prison sentence on charges of corruption relating to his time as interior minister from 1993 to 1995.
The 83-year-old senator was convicted of abuse of public funds and attempt to conceal material evidence in connection with the Sofremi agency, a public organisation which sells police equipment abroad.
Prosecutors had sought a four-year sentence, with no possibility of parole in the first two years, in addition to a 200,000-euro fine and a ban from holding public office.
Pasqua, an influential member of France’s ruling centre-right UMP party, is the latest high-profile politician from former President Jacques Chirac's circle to face justice.
'You know me better than that'
Throughout his trial, Pasqua maintained his innocence, telling the Paris court during his two-hour testimony on Wednesday that he had been subjected to a painful ordeal that had affected him and his family.
"This court appearance affects me deeply", Pasqua told the court. "I am humiliated as a politician, humiliated because my family and I have been dragged through the mud for the past ten years".
Pasqua sought to turn the tables on his accusers, saying he had been betrayed by former allies who were behind the kickback schemes.
"They had their dealings. I had nothing to do with them," he said.
"If you think I'm rotten, then convict me. But I now look you in the eye, and I am under the assumption that you know me better than that and that you have another view of me", he added.
Pasqua has already received a suspended 18-month prison sentence after a court convicted him of funding his election campaign for the European Parliament with the proceeds of the sale of a casino.
The conviction was confirmed on appeal this month.
In October, Pasqua was also sentenced to a year in jail for his role in illegal arms sales to Angola in the 1990s. He has appealed the conviction.
Date created : 2010-04-30