France

Paris drops fraud charges against Chirac

Reuters

Paris approved a two million euro settlement on Monday to drop its graft case against former French president Jacques Chirac during his time as the city’s mayor. In a historic vote, Paris city council, led by the Socialist Party, voted 147 to 13 with one abstention in favour of an out-of-court settlement.

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In August 2010 Chirac, 77, agreed to pay 550,000 euros to the city hall so it would drop its case against him, even if his corruption trial went ahead.

The rest of the more than two million euros will be paid by President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling UMP party.

Chirac is accused of using the city payroll to pay salaries to aides who were actually working for his party when he was mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995.

The deal does not close the case, but it would remove a major plaintiff.

Nine Green Party council members voted against the motion, and accused the council-ruling Socialists of secret dealings with the UMP party.

As president from 1995 to 2007, Chirac was immune from prosecution, but he is now due to go on trial by early next year.

He faces up to 10 years in jail and a fine of 150,000 euros.

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