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07 01 2001 14:17:47

France sells its soul for a fistful of francs | World news | The Observer

«France, riven by money-laundering and graft scandals reaching to the highest levels of government, is one of the most corrupt of all developed countries, according to a new international study. The report, by Transparency International, shows that, among large developed nations, France is only outdone in the corruption stakes by Italy. Experts say graft affects every corner of life, from sport to politics. So endemic is it, they argue, that it simply represents the French way of doing business. The report comes when President Jacques Chirac has again been embroiled in a corruption scandal. He has been accused of using £240,000 from illegal sources to pay in cash for private trips to places including New York, Japan and Mauritius for himself, his family and his friends between 1992 and 1995. Chirac claimed the money was from an official, though secret, fund usually used to pay for covert anti-terrorist activities. Judges and opposition politicians doubted this explanation, on the ground that Chirac would not have had access to such government funds at the time as he was then only Mayor of Paris. Instead, investigating magistrates want to question the President about the possibility that the money came from illegal commissions Chirac allegedly collected from build ingcompanies to fund his RPR party, in exchange for contracts to rebuild and refurbish Paris schools. The charge of increased corruption came in the same week that the 'Angolagate' judicial investigation into illegal arms sales involving Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, son of the late President, and former Interior Minister Charles Pasqua, was quashed on a technicality. The French public's faith in their political leaders' probity has taken a battering in the past year with a succession of scandals. In May, Socialist former Foreign Minister Roland Dumas was jailed for his part in the Elf Aquitaine scandal.»...
Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk | Source Status Category: Crise/Analyse de Crise

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