Thursday Dec 15, 201111:21 AM GMT
France's Chirac receives jail term
Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:24AM
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Former French President Jacques Chirac
A court in France has handed former French President Jacques Chirac a two-year suspended prison sentence after finding him guilty of embezzlement and misuse of public funds.

Chirac was tried on Thursday over a party-financing scandal during his 1977-1995 tenure as Paris mayor, AFP reported.

Chirac, who did not attend the trial due to doctors' recommendations, denied the charges.

The 79-year-old former president, who ruled the country from 1995 until 2007, was accused of a scheme that faked paid jobs. The salaries were then used to finance his conservative party.

The country's current foreign minister, Alain Juppe, was convicted in the same case in 2004, but has since returned to public life, and is a key ally of President Nicolas Sarkozy.

This is the first conviction of a head of state in France since 1945 when Marshal Philippe Petain was found guilty of collaborating with the Nazis.

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