« | »

Ex-President Chirac Faces End Of His Immunity

From his fans at the Associated Press:

Clock ticking on Chirac’s immunity

PARIS, France (AP) — For Jacques Chirac, the legal clock is ticking: At midnight Saturday, the former French leader officially loses his presidential immunity, and could face investigators’ questions — or worse.

Judges could come knocking over at least five cases involving suspected corruption and alleged financial misdeeds, most dating to Chirac’s time as Paris mayor from 1977 to 1995 — the year he became president.

It’s unlikely that Chirac, 74, would ever go to jail, but the cases loom as a humiliating coda to his four-decade political career. Since the Fifth Republic was founded in 1958, a former head of state has never been required to answer allegations of wrongdoing from earlier in his career.

“It will embarrass everybody. The current government isn’t going to be thrilled, I’m not sure the opposition will either,” said Yves Baudelot, a lawyer for the City of Paris in its efforts to recoup money lost to corruption scandals. “Whether you like it or not, it undermines the function of the president.” …

Judges have long sought Chirac’s answers in many legal probes, but were blocked from summoning — much less prosecuting — him during his 12 years as president, because of constitutionally guaranteed immunity for a head of state.

The most threatening case centers on suspicions that Chirac had a role in a so-called “fake jobs” party financing scandal in which operatives from his Rally for the Republic party were illegally on the Paris city payroll. The equivalent of millions of dollars in salaries and fees were doled out.

An investigation headed by Judge Alain Philibeaux in Nanterre, west of Paris, turned up a 1993 letter in which Chirac requested a raise for a secretary who was paid by City Hall — but who actually worked at party headquarters…

Chirac also could be called in the “Paris city representative” affair, an offshoot of the fake jobs scheme involving allegations that paid advisory posts were created at City Hall, but no work was ever done in them. Juppe answered an investigator’s questions in that affair last month, raising suspicions that the former president soon could follow…

Chirac left office May 16 with an undistinguished domestic record despite lofty promises, and will be perhaps best remembered for his popular opposition to the U.S.-led Iraq war.

In typical fashion the AP pointedly ignores Mr. Chirac’s most outrageous scandal — the purported kickbacks to friends and family from his old friend Saddam via the Oil For Food Program.

But since Chirac hates America, they feel like he is one of their own and must be protected.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, June 16th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “Ex-President Chirac Faces End Of His Immunity”

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

« Front Page | To Top
« | »