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Former Chirac colleague and ex-fugitive convicted in corruption case

Former Chirac colleague and ex-fugitive convicted in corruption case

A Paris court convicted a former French housing official Thursday and sentenced him to a year in prison for diverting funds to President Jacques Chirac's conservative party.
Didier Schuller, who had disappeared for seven years after coming under suspicion in the case in the 1990s, was also fined euro150,000 (US$195,000) and deprived of his right to vote, run for office or have custody of his children for five years.
The scandal is one of several dating to Chirac's time as mayor of Paris from 1977-1995. Schuller, a former local official in Chirac's party, was found guilty of influence-peddling and playing a role in diverting public funds to the party when he was in charge of a public housing office.
Schuller initially was convicted in 2005 in the case and sentenced to five years in prison, including three years suspended.
A Paris appeals court on Thursday upheld the conviction and the original court's euro150,000 (US$195,000) fine. The court slightly reduced his sentence, to three years in prison, two years of which were suspended.
Schuller, 59, disappeared in 1995 after coming under suspicion in the case, and was found living in the Dominican Republic in 2002. Schuller has claimed he was pressured to flee France during Chirac's presidential campaign in 1995.
Schuller served several months in preliminary detention after his return to France in 2002, and may request that the time be applied toward the sentence handed down Thursday.
Chirac's conservative party, formerly called Rally for the Republic, allegedly was a major beneficiary of various schemes during his time as mayor.
Chirac, 74, is likely to step down when his second term expires in May.


Updated : 2021-08-06 10:22 GMT+08:00