- corruption - France - Jacques Chirac - justice
Ex-president Chirac’s trial hits hurdle on opening day
Popular former president Jacques Chirac’s trial for misusing public funds kicked off Monday, but was promptly suspended by a co-defendant’s appeal on a technicality and could now be stalled for months.
Former President Jacques Chirac is one of France’s most popular politicians, but these days he finds himself facing a most unhappy distinction: he is the country’s first ex-head of state to be brought up on criminal charges since 1945.
Chirac’s trial for misuse of public funds kicked off Monday, but was promptly delayed by a co-defendant’s appeal over a technical legal question. The trial could now be postponed for several months depending on whether the case is moved to France highest court, the Court of Cassation. This decision will be taken on Tuesday.
The 78-year-old former president is accused of embezzling public money to fund his political party while he was mayor of Paris between 1977 and 1995, the year he wa
s elected to his first term as president. Specific allegations are that Chirac used city money to pay 28 phantom employees for his own political purposes.
Chirac has denied any wrongdoing, saying that France had no clear laws on party financing at the time.
Popularity only goes so far