BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Thursday, 26 July, 2001, 02:57 GMT 03:57 UK
Another setback for Chirac
French President Jacques Chirac
Chirac says he has nothing to hide
The French parliament has decided to hand over details of President Jacques Chirac's financial assets to magistrates investigating corruption.

Correspondents say this is another setback for the French president who admits paying for holidays with wads of cash but says the banknotes came from a secret but legal fund from his time as prime minister.

The three magistrates have accepted that they do not have the power to summon a sitting president but requested additional details from the national assembly in order to keep the "cash-for tickets" case alive.

My only guiding line in dealing with this was respect for the rule of law and democracy

Raymond Forni
Socialist President of the National Assembly
Mr Chirac's right-wing supporters walked out of the vote and said it was a political ploy ahead of presidential elections due in 2002.

"This is an attack on the institutions and functions of the president of the republic," said Nicole Catala, from Chirac's Rally for the Republic party.

This was denied by the Socialist President of the National Assembly, Raymond Forni: "My only guiding line in dealing with this was respect for the rule of law and democracy."

Jacques Chirac is expected to face a strong challenge from Prime Minister Lionel Jospin of the Socialist Party.

Air tickets

On 10 July, the investigating magistrates questioned Mr Chirac's daughter, Claude, about some of the trips.

She is her father's senior public relations advisor.

They want to discover where the French President obtained some FFr2.4m ($312,000) in cash, used to pay for air tickets in the mid-1990s before he became head of state.
Claude Chirac
Claude Chirac has been questioned over "cash-for-tickets"

The payments were uncovered during investigations into public works contracts during Mr Chirac's 18-year term as Mayor of Paris.

The magistrates had asked the national assembly to disclose whether the cash was listed among his assets when he was a deputy from 1988 to 1993.

Mr Chirac says the banknotes originated from a "special fund" allocated to French Prime Ministers and Presidents.


He was prime minister until 1988 - four years before the first ticket was purchased.

The judges believe the large amounts of cash may have instead come from bribes paid by firms to get contracts from Paris city hall.

During his traditional Bastille Day interview on 14 July, the president said that the sums involved were much less than quoted in the press and that he had paid in cash for reasons of "discretion and security".

He said he was "deeply wounded" by the treatment of his family during the investigations.

The BBC's Hugh Schofield
"It is all highly complicated"
See also:

20 Jul 01 | Europe
Q & A: Chirac's corruption battle
18 Jul 01 | Europe
Chirac escapes sleaze questions
16 Jul 01 | Europe
Jospin allies turn on Chirac
14 Jul 01 | Europe
Chirac hits back at critics
11 Jul 01 | Europe
Clouds gather around Chirac
26 Jun 01 | Europe
Chirac faces cash payments probe
21 May 01 | Europe
Chirac faces impeachment bid
28 Sep 00 | Europe
Cheques, lies and videotape
14 Jul 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
Chirac family drawn into probe
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories