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Wednesday, 30 May, 2001, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
Profile: Dumas the charmer
Roland Dumas
Dumas: Former foreign minister was known for his style
Roland Dumas, who has been cleared of corruption charges after originally being sentenced to six months in prison, epitomises French style, power and success.

In his seven years as foreign minister in the Mitterrand administration, he was known as much for his suave manner and debonair appearance as for his policies.

But the lawyer, later rewarded with the job of most senior judge in France, became mired in controversy.

Francois Mitterrand
Mitterrand: His record is under the spotlight
His former mistress Christine Deviers-Joncour, the self-proclaimed "Whore of the Republic", accused him of receiving millions of dollars' worth of gifts from an Elf-Aquitaine slush fund.

Mr Dumas had admitted playing a part in what he called "a subtle game of shadows and light", on behalf of France, but denied making any personal gain.

He also insisted that he did not know the source of the money which had paid for the gifts.

"Running the risk of being dishonored at my age is unbearable," he said in his trial.

Less than a fortnight after the corruption charges were laid against him, Mr Dumas resigned as head of France's highest court, the Constitutional Council.

Christine Deviers-Joncour
Deviers-Joncour: Charmed Mr Dumas, say prosecutors
It is the fifth highest post in French public life. Mr Dumas had hoped to clear his name and return to office after a temporary absence.

But the pressure mounted, from all political parties, and he was forced to go.

Mr Dumas was born in 1922 in Limoges in central France.

Like many of his political contemporaries, he is a former member of the French resistance. He joined up after his father was shot by the Nazis.

The post-war years brought success as a Paris lawyer, as well as the expensive tastes and affairs for which he became known. His friendship with Mitterrand also grew, and Mr Dumas entered politics.

He served as foreign minister for two spells, starting the first in 1984 and the second four years later. His first senior ministerial post was as European Affairs minister.

See also:

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