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Page last updated at 15:28 GMT, Friday, 30 April 2010 16:28 UK

French ex-police boss and Chirac ally Pasqua convicted

French senator Charles Pasqua, 30 Apr 10
Charles Pasqua plans to appeal against the sentence

French senator Charles Pasqua has been given a one-year suspended jail sentence for corruption while he was interior minister in the 1990s.

A close aide of the former centre-right President, Jacques Chirac, Pasqua was convicted of embezzlement over sales of police equipment abroad.

Pasqua, 83, was cleared of two other charges. He denied any wrongdoing.

Mr Chirac is to stand trial next year, accused of misuse of public funds when he was mayor of Paris in the 1990s.

'No regrets'

Pasqua was convicted of receiving "misappropriated funds" in the so-called Sofremi case.

Sofremi, an agency which sold police equipment abroad, was controlled by the interior ministry.

Pasqua was interior minister from 1986-1988 and again from 1993-1995.

"How could anyone imagine that I could have let myself be corrupted?" Pasqua asked after the verdict, adding that he "regretted nothing".

He was tried by the Court of Justice of the Republic, the only body with a mandate to try people for actions carried out while they served in government.

Prosecutors had asked the court to strip him of his right to hold office, as well as impose a two-year prison sentence and a 200,000 euro ($265,00 or £174,000) fine.

Pasqua was acquitted in two other corruption cases, one involving a lucrative casino license.

The former interior minister has faced a series of court cases in recent years.

In 2009, he was sentenced to a year in prison for his involvement in illegal arms sales to Angola in the 1990s. He has appealed against that conviction, AFP reports.

In the casino case, Pasqua had earlier been convicted in a regular court of illegal campaign financing.

A one-time ally of Mr Chirac, Pasqua grew increasingly anti-European in the 1990s and distanced himself from the former French president.



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