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France prosecutors ask judge to drop Chirac corruption charges

[JURIST] Paris prosecutors requested Tuesday that charges of embezzlement and corruption against former French president and Paris mayor Jacques Chirac [official profile; BBC profile] be dropped. As mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995, Chirac is alleged to have placed 45 people on his office payroll [AP report] who had no real jobs in Paris City Hall. The charges were filed in 2007 after Chirac's presidency ended and he no longer had judicial immunity. The prosecutors' request has been given to Judge Xaviere Simeoni, who is expected to make a decision this week about whether to continue with proceedings. In an interview given soon after his term as president ended, Chirac denied all wrongdoing [Le Monde report, in French].

The formal investigation into these allegations against Chirac was opened in 2007 [JURIST report]. Earlier that year, Chirac's 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 because the French Constitution grants judicial immunity to the president. In July 2007, French investigating magistrates questioned Chirac as a material witness [JURIST report] in their probe of the corruption allegations.

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