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Jacques Chirac, France Former President, Found Guilty Of Corruption

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 16, 2011


PARIS — As French president, Jacques Chirac was called all sorts of names, not the least for his vociferous opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Now, he has a moniker that will stick: Convicted criminal.

The avuncular 79-year-old on Thursday became France’s first former leader to be convicted since Marshal Philippe Petain, who headed the Nazi collaborationist regime during World War II, in 1945. Chirac will not go to prison, but received a two-year suspended sentence for corruption linked to his 18-year term as the mayor of Paris.

In a statement hours after the decision, Chirac said though he “categorically contest(ed)” the verdict, he would not appeal.

Despite the “pain and the profound sadness this verdict has inflicted,” the statement said, “I sadly no longer have the necessary strength to lead before new judges the combat for the truth.”

He said that as mayor, “it is up to me and me alone to take responsibility,” but stressed that “above all, I affirm with honor: I cannot be blamed for anything.”

“I leave (judgment) to my compatriots, who know who I am: an honest man who never had any other desire or motivation than the unity of the French people, the greatness of France, and action in favor of peace.”

The verdict was an uncomfortable coda to Chirac’s four-decade career as a fixture of French politics, and could aid efforts by critics to rid the political system of its cushy cronyism. It also tarnishes the lofty image that French presidents often enjoy at home just as the country gears up for another presidential race.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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