Chirac Must Stand Trial on Corruption Charges

Allegations go back to his days as mayor of Paris
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 30, 2009 9:15 AM CDT
Former French President Jacques Chirac in a 2001 file photo.   (AP Photo/Srdjan Ilic-File)
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(Newser) – Former French President Jacques Chirac has been ordered to stand trial in an alleged corruption scandal dating back to his time as Paris mayor—a case that caught up with him in retirement once he lost the judicial immunity of France's highest office. A magistrate ordered Chirac, whose 12-year presidency ended in 2007, to stand trial on charges of embezzlement and breach of trust.

The judge's decision today surprised many. The prosecutor's office had requested that the case be dropped, saying the statute of limitations had expired on many of the events in question. A prosecutor could still appeal. Among other things, Chirac is accused of giving members of his inner circle phony jobs on the Paris payroll. If convicted, the 76-year-old faces up to 10 years in prison and hefty fines.