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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 July 2006, 21:34 GMT 22:34 UK
Dozens found guilty in Paris scam
President Jacques Chirac
President Jacques Chirac denied any wrongdoing
A French court has convicted 38 people in a corruption scandal involving Paris City Hall when President Jacques Chirac was mayor of the capital.

The court handed out suspended prison sentences of up to two years and fines of up to 60,000 euros (42,000).

Prosecutors said housing officials received bribes from businessmen and that some of the money went to Mr Chirac's Rally for the Republic (RPR).

Mr Chirac has denied any wrongdoing or knowledge of any corruption racket.

But he refused to testify in the case, claiming presidential immunity.

Close friends

No prominent politicians were involved in the trial, although many of those convicted were close friends of Mr Chirac.

They included the former head of the Paris public housing office, Georges Perol, who was given a two-year suspended prison sentence and fined 20,000 euros (14,000).

The verdicts were the culmination of a 12-year probe into millions of dollars' worth of payments by construction companies seeking lucrative building contracts.

The case was made famous in 2000 by a videotaped statement by a former RPR official alleging that Mr Chirac knew of kickbacks paid to the party.

But Mr Chirac, who was the mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995, denied the allegations.

His RPR party has since changed name and leadership.




SEE ALSO
Chirac allies punished for scam
27 Oct 05 |  Europe
French politicians found guilty
16 Feb 04 |  Europe

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