Former French President Jacques Chirac has refused to answer judges questions in an investigation into an alleged smear scandal during his 12-year presidency. Chirac, while in office, was guaranteed judicial immunity and therefore cannot be ordered to provide testimony in the probe into the so-called Clearstream affair.
The Clearstream Scandal centered on faked bank documents at the Luxembourg finance house in the names of prominent figures, including the new French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who were falsely alleged to have received illegal payments from the sale of French warships to Taiwan for 2 billion euros in 1991.
Leaked case documents fuelled suspicions that Dominique de Villepin used his position as Foreign then Interior minister to order secret investigations by the intelligence services to discredit Sarkozy, his political rival. De Villepin denies any wrong doing.