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France judge opens formal probe into Chirac corruption allegations

[JURIST] A French judge Wednesday opened a formal investigation into former French President Jacques Chirac [official profile; BBC profile] for his alleged involvement in a corruption scheme [JURIST report] during his tenure as the mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995. Chirac allegedly financed the Rally for the Republic (RPR) [Wikipedia backgrounder], now renamed as the Union for a Popular Movement [party website, in French], by illegally establishing fake city positions for party members to collect salaries totaling several million dollars. AP has more.

In June, Chirac lawyer Jean Veil indicated that judges would likely question Chirac [JURIST report], but emphasized that the Chirac would not answer questions concerning scandals that allegedly occurred during Chirac's tenure as president of France [JURIST news archive] because the French constitution grants judicial immunity to the president. In July, French investigating magistrates questioned Chirac as a material witness [JURIST report] in their probe of the scheme.

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