Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Judge has filed preliminary embezzlement charges against Chirac

Yeah! Remember when everyone that his opinion of us mattered?

Alleged wrongdoing in Jacques Chirac's past came back Wednesday to trouble his retirement, when a judge took the unprecedented step of filing preliminary embezzlement charges against the former two-term president of France.

Chirac insisted he had committed no wrongdoing. Political opinion was divided on whether the judge had scored a victory for French justice or merely underscored its impotence — because only since he left office in May have judges been able to pursue Chirac.

Since he lost his presidential immunity, Chirac has now been questioned by two different judges looking into suspected misuse of public money and other alleged wrongdoing in his 18-year tenure as mayor of Paris, which served as one of his springboards for the presidency in 1995.

The judge that summoned him to her office Wednesday, Xaviere Simeoni, is investigating whether people in Chirac's circle were given sham jobs as advisers, paid by Paris City Hall even though they weren't working for it.