Chirac agrees deal in Paris corruption probe

THE city of Paris pulled out of a corruption case against former French president Jacques Chirac yesterday after he agreed to pay €2.2 million lost to municipal funds because of a financing scandal while he was mayor.

Chirac, 77, is facing trial on charges of embezzlement and breach of trust stemming from the scandal dating back to his 1977-1995 run as Paris mayor. The case marks the first time a former leader of modern France has been forced to stand trial.

The deal does not close the case, but it will remove the last plaintiff other than the state, and could take some of the courtroom pressure off Chirac when he goes to trial in late 2010 or early 2011.

Paris municipal council voted 147 to 13 with one abstention to drop the complaint after he and his conservative Union for a Popular Movement party agreed to the compensation.

The payback amounts to the salaries of 21 people hired by City Hall in what investigators have called a “fake jobs” scheme while he was mayor. The jobs were allegedly meant to help finance his conservative party, the Rally for the Republic, which was later replaced by the Union for a Popular Movement, or UMP.

If convicted, the former president could be jailed for up to 10 years and fined €150,000. Chirac has denied wrong doing.


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