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France ex-president Chirac settles with Paris in corruption case

The Paris city council voted Monday to accept a deal in which former French president Jacques Chirac [official profile; JURIST news archive] will pay the city USD $741,000 in compensation for money he allegedly paid to supporters for whom he created false jobs. In exchange for the compensation, the city agreed to drop out of a corruption suit [France 24 report] against Chirac. Chirac is accused of financing the Rally for the Republic (RPR), now renamed as the Union for a Popular Movement [party website, in French], while mayor of Paris by illegally establishing fake city positions for party members to collect salaries totaling several million dollars. Chirac says the payment is not an admission of guilt. On Friday, a French court will set a date [Bloomberg report], most likely early next year, for Chirac's criminal trial on the corruption charges. If convicted, Chirac faces up to 10 years in prison and fines that could exceed USD $200,000.

In December, a French judge placed Chirac under preliminary investigation [JURIST report]. Chirac was ordered to stand trial [JURIST report] on related charges of embezzlement and misuse of public funds last October. Chirac will be the first former French president to stand trial [JURIST comment] since the formation of the current Republic in 1958. The charges were originally filed in 2007 [JURIST report] after Chirac's presidency ended and he no longer had judicial immunity. 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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