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Ex-President Chirac Guilty of Diverting Paris Funds as Mayor

(Updates with sentence in second paragraph.)

Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Former French President Jacques Chirac was found guilty by a French criminal court of misusing Paris city funds during his years as mayor.

Chirac diverted city money to benefit his political party and reward supporters, the court ruled today. He received a two- year suspended prison sentence.

Chirac, who served as mayor of Paris from 1977 until 1995 except for a two-year period when he was prime minister, is the first French head of state to stand trial since World War II. The corruption investigation was delayed until after he stepped down as president in 2007 by rules shielding sitting leaders from investigations for anything short of high treason.

“As mayor, Jacques Chirac was responsible for the city budget,” Judge Dominique Pauthe said in his verdict today.

The 79-year-old former politician did not attend the trial after Pauthe agreed with his lawyers that he was not medically fit to testify. Chirac denied breaking any laws, with his defenders arguing all job contracts were for real work for the city.

The City of Paris dropped its claim after reaching a settlement in which the former president and the Union for a Popular Movement, successor to Chirac’s party, paid 2.2 million euros ($3 million) to the city without admitting any guilt in the deal.

--Editor: Anthony Aarons

To contact the reporter on this story: Heather Smith in Paris at hsmith26@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.

© Copyright 2015 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

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(Updates with sentence in second paragraph.) Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Former French President Jacques Chirac was found guilty by a French criminal court of misusing Paris city funds during his years as mayor. Chirac diverted city money to benefit his political party and...
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