Former French President Jacques Chirac has been placed under formal investigation.
The 74-year-old was interviewed for several hours today over allegations of embezzling public funds by handing out bogus jobs when he was Paris Mayor.
The move by investigating judge Xaviere Simioni brings Chirac a step closer to possible charges.
The news was broken by Chirac’s lawyer, Jean Veil. But he played down its significance.
“You can’t question someone over a case of this kind, which has been running for years, without placing him under formal investigation,” he said. “I think it would have been a mistake by the judge not to have done so.”
Chirac’s name crops up in various investigations currently underway.
While he was French President, he enjoyed immunity from prosecution. But he lost that when Nicolas Sarkozy took over from him at the Elysee.