Having lost the presidential immunity that protected him from prosecution, former French president Jacques Chirac has refused to testify in a political dirty tricks scandal that sought to discredit President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The scandal involved false documentation that seemed to show large sums of money, presumably bribes, passing through secret bank accounts held by Sarkozy and others.
Sarkozy said at the time that the scandal had been orchestrated in order to ruin his chances for the presidency.
In refusing to be interviewed by investigators, Chirac argued that because he had immunity while he was president, he cannot be compelled to testify about things that happened during his tenure.
Chirac, 74, left office on May 16 after having governed for 12 years. His presidential immunity expired at midnight on June 16.
"The president of the republic is not responsible for acts committed in this capacity," Chirac's office said in a statement released on Friday.
The statement said he would cooperate with judges looking into events before his presidential tenure, which began in 1995.
Chirac faces potential charges in three cases involving events that occurred while he was mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995.
The latest matter began in 2004 when investigators received a CD-ROM containing the names of supposed beneficiaries of kickbacks paid in the sale of French frigates to Taiwan in 1991.
The list included secret bank accounts at Clearstream, a financial clearinghouse based in Luxembourg that had earlier been the subject of corruption charges.
Investigators determined that the information on the CD-ROM was false.
But notes later taken by an intelligence officer, General Philippe Rondot, suggest that former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin and Chirac ordered that Sarkozy be investigated.
De Villepin has denied that he asked Rondot to investigate Sarkozy or any other politician.
In March 2001, while Chirac was still president, he refused to attend a hearing on the the misuse of municipal funds.
Accusations in that matter include the creation of no-show city jobs for members of Chirac's political party and the use of public funds for Chirac's personal travel to Japan.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big