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Last Updated: Friday, 10 October, 2003, 17:27 GMT 18:27 UK
Juppe faces suspended sentence
Alain Juppe
Juppe said he found out about the scam in 1993
A prosecutor in the corruption trial of former French prime minister Alain Juppe has called for him to be given an eight-month suspended prison sentence and a fine.

Mr Juppe, along with 26 other people, is accused of allowing private companies and Paris city hall to pay the salaries of people working for President Chirac's former RPR party.

The question of whether Monsieur Juppe should be excluded from political life is not for a judge to decide - that is up to the French people
Rene Grouman
Deputy prosecutor
Mr Juppe, who denies the charges, had been facing a maximum sentence of five years in jail, fines of up to 75,000 euros and a five-year ban on political office.

But deputy prosecutor Rene Grouman said he would not seek a ban on Mr Juppe holding public office and did not specify the size of the fine.

"The question of whether Monsieur Juppe should be excluded from political life is not for a judge to decide," he said. "That is up to the French people, who are sovereign."

Mr Juppe is not accused of personally profiting from the fraud.

Highest profile

The trial is due to continue until 17 October. According to French law, judges do not have to follow prosecutors' sentencing recommendations.

On Tuesday, Mr Juppe denied that he knew about the scam when he became the RPR's secretary general in 1988.

He said that when he was told in 1993 that 15 out of 155 people working for the RPR were paid for by private companies, he put a stop to it.

But one of Mr Juppe's former chiefs of staff, Yves Cabana, told the court that "everyone" within the RPR knew about the scam during Mr Chirac's 18 years as mayor of Paris, from 1977 to 1995.

Mr Chirac is immune from prosecution while he remains president, leaving Mr Juppe as the most high-profile of 27 defendants.

He is now the head of Mr Chirac's Union for a Popular Majority (UMP) party and mayor of Bordeaux.

He was once widely regarded as a future president.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Caroline Wyatt
"How much did Mr Juppe know?"



SEE ALSO:
Profile: Jacques Chirac
17 Jun 02  |  Europe


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