FRANCE

Judge’s decision imminent on Chirac corruption charges

Former French President Jacques Chirac finds out Friday if he wall be called back to court on misappropriation of public funds charges by civil servants – where he was allegedly a 'silent partner' - when he was mayor of Paris.

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Former French President Jacques Chirac is due to learn today if he needs to appear before a Paris court to answer to charges of misappropriation of public funds during his time as the city’s mayor in the 1980s and 1990s.
 
Prosecutors say that Chirac may have been aware that some 35 people were paid by the city for fictional jobs, but while actually working for Chirac’s political party, the RPR (the Rally for the Republic).
 
If required to appear, he would be the first former French head of state to defend himself before a court in a formal criminal investigation.
 
The judge can decide to agree with prosecutors, who initially advised dropping the charges, or to pursue them.
 
Chirac enjoyed immunity from prosecution while serving as president from May 1995 to May 2007. He was originally charged on November 21, 2007 for “misappropriation of public funds”. Chirac was Paris’ mayor from 1977 to 1995.
 
During the time when, prosecutors say, the fictional jobs were being handed out and paid, Chirac was in his second term as mayor. The misappropriation continued for the first three years of the administration of his successor, Jean Tiberi, prosecutors also contend.
 

Chirac’s name has been connected to a number of other cases of alleged corruption, but this is the only one in which he has been formally charged.

 

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