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Former French President faces questioning in probe

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Former French President faces questioning in probe


It was on the 19th of July, 2007 that Jacques Chirac was questioned by a judge for the first time since his days as President of the Republic.

The former leader was interviewed in connection with an alleged funding scandal in Judge Alain Philibeaux’s Paris office. One last privilege for Chirac, who lost his immunity from prosecution when he left the Presidency.

Observers say the past is beginning to catch up with the 74-year-old, who for decades has been a stalwart of french political life.

The latest inquiry centres on allegations of embezzlement of funds between 1977 and 1995 – Chirac’s time as Mayor of Paris.

Its alleged Chirac had a role in the so-called party financing scandal, in which supporters of his conservative former party the RPR, were illegally on the city payroll.

Chirac himself has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

The “fake jobs” dossier brought a 14 month suspended sentence in 2004 for former Prime Minister Alain Juppé, an ex-financial director at Paris’ City Hall and top Chirac ally.

Only his Presidential immunity saved Chirac from being questioned, as Eric Decouty from Le Figaro explains:

“He could be facing a similar sentence to Alain Juppé – because in reality the case against Chirac now is very similar to the one against Juppé at the time. To be honest, if Jacques Chirac had not been President he would have faced the same treatment as Juppé – and he remember, he was Juppé‘s boss.”

But this time around Chirac has no option but to answer questions in the fake jobs inquiry.

He could also be questioned over a second inquiry, involving allegations that paid advisory posts were created at the City Hall, but no work was ever carried out.

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