France: Chirac corruption trial could be postponed

Now Reading:

France: Chirac corruption trial could be postponed

Text size Aa Aa

Former French President Jacques Chirac has gone on trial for corruption in Paris, even though the case could be postponed as early as tomorrow.

Chirac was seen leaving his home in the French capital earlier today, and is expected to appear in court on Wednesday, should the hearing finally go ahead.

The 78-year old is accused of embezzling money during his time as mayor of Paris before becoming head of state. He has always vehemently denied any wrong-doing.

Amid rumours Chirac is in frail health, his lawyer Georges Kiejman said he believed the President wanted the trial to be over when asked if he wanted it to go ahead.

But, prosecutor Frederik-Karel Canoy said: “More than 70 percent of the French people want to see this trial take place, so we can’t sweep it under the carpet. It must not be a cover up.”

Chirac is accused of paying cronies for non-existent jobs while running the French capital from 1977 to 1995. If found guilty he could go to jail for ten years.

The former President is the first French ex-head of state to face criminal charges since Marshal Philippe Pétain was convicted of treason for collaborating with the Nazis during World War II.

Despite that, Chirac continues to enjoy high popularity ratings in France.