France judges to question Chirac in corruption probe News
France judges to question Chirac in corruption probe

[JURIST] Former French President Jacques Chirac [official profile; BBC profile] will likely be questioned in an alleged corruption scheme [JURIST report] during Chirac's tenure as the mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995, Chirac's lawyer Jean Veil said Tuesday. Chirac, who headed the Rally for the Republic (RPR), now renamed as the Union for a Popular Movement [party website], allegedly financed the RPR's payroll by illegally establishing fake city positions for party members to collect salaries totaling several million dollars. Chirac's lawyer said he will be called as a material witness; under French law, a material witness is not formally a suspect, but may be indicted pending the investigation. Veil emphasized that Chirac will not answer questions concerning two other scandals that allegedly occurred during Chirac's tenure as president of France [JURIST news archive], which ended in May.

Chirac allegedly ordered a secret investigation into current President Nicolas Sarkozy [BBC profile] in the Clearstream Affair [Wikipedia backgrounder] as part of a smear campaign [JURIST report] against Sarkozy prior to the presidential elections. Chirac has also refused to allow magistrates to search his office [BBC report] or question him pursuant to an investigation of the mysterious death of French judge Bernard Borrel [advocacy website, in French] in Djibouti. Chirac's lawyer said that because the French constitution grants judicial immunity to the president, Chirac will refuse to answer questions about events that occurred during his presidency. AP has more. BBC News has additional coverage.