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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 October 2005, 10:04 GMT 11:04 UK
Chirac allies punished for scam
Guy Drut
Guy Drut is now a member of the International Olympic Committee
A court in France has convicted three former government ministers of illegal party funding in the country's biggest ever political corruption trial.

A total of 43 defendants were found guilty, including Guy Drut - the former sports minister and Olympic champion.

He got a four-year suspended sentence and 50,000-euro (34,000) fine, as did Michel Roussin, who headed Jacques Chirac's staff at Paris city hall.

Building firms allegedly paid kickbacks when President Chirac was Paris mayor.

Huge bribes

The prosecution said that between 1989 and 1997 the main political parties took millions of dollars in bribes from building contractors in return for lucrative contracts to renovate schools in and around Paris.

Mr Chirac invoked his parliamentary immunity and did not testify.

According to the investigation, more than half of the money paid secretly in the public contracts affair went to Mr Chirac's Rally for the Republic (RPR) and its ally, the Republican Party (PR). Both later merged to form France's ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).

Mr Chirac was the mayor of Paris for 18 years, until he was elected president in 1995.

The third minister to be convicted was Michel Giraud, 75, an ex-president of the Ile-de-France regional council and a former labour minister. He received a four-year suspended sentence 80,000-euro fine.

French politicians found guilty
16 Feb 04 |  Europe

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