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Chirac associates face corruption trial

[JURIST] Forty-seven people, including senior aides to French President Jacques Chirac [official profile], face corruption charges for allegedly rigging public works contracts to finance political parties. The trial, which begins Monday in Paris, concerns one of several campaign finance scandals to surface during Chirac's former tenure as mayor of Paris. It is alleged that from 1988 to 1997, companies kicked back money spent by the regional Ile-de-France counsil for secondary school construction, to political parties including Chirac's Rally for the Republic (RPR), the Republican Party (PR) and the Socialists (PS). Among those implicated include Chirac's cabinet director Michel Roussin, former president of the Ile-de-France regional council and labour minister, Michel Giraud, former PR president and industry minister, Gerard Longuet, and sports minister, Guy Drut. Chirac has refused to appear before the judges and is not legally required to following a ruling [Cour de Cassation ruling in French] by the High Court of Appeal stating that current presidents are immune from judicial proceedings. AFP has more.

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