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Chirac Questioned Over Party Funding Scam

Posted July. 21, 2007 03:03,   


Former French President Jacques Chirac was questioned by a judge on Thursday at his home in Paris in an investigation into a party financing scandal that dates back to his time as mayor of Paris. It was the first time a former French president has undergone questioning by a judge whose status is equivalent to a public prosecutor in Korea.

The investigation focused on a financing scandal involving Chirac`s conservative party “The Rally for the Republic” (RPR) while he was mayor of Paris from 1977-95.

Investigators say some RPR operatives were illegally on the Paris city payroll and diverted salaries to the party.

Alain Juppé, former Prime Minister and former deputy mayor in charge of finances of the city, was convicted in the case in 2004 and given a 14-month suspended jail sentence. This incident occurred before Chirac took power, therefore he cannot seek presidential immunity.

Mr. Chirac, 74, was questioned in the presence of his lawyer rather than as an ordinary witness, implying that if there is some evidence against him, he could eventually face criminal charges. He denied any wrongdoing in a long letter sent to Le Monde, explaining, “There were no clear regulations on fund-raising until 1995 and all the political parties experienced difficulties in financing.”