Chirac factotum jailed on corruption charges

19th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

CRETEIL, France, October 18 (AFP) - Didier Schuller, a former politician from French president Jacques Chirac's Gaullist party, was convicted of taking kickbacks from building companies Tuesday and sent to jail for two years.

CRETEIL, France, October 18 (AFP) - Didier Schuller, a former politician from French president Jacques Chirac's Gaullist party, was convicted of taking kickbacks from building companies Tuesday and sent to jail for two years.

Schuller, a former director of the public works office in the Paris suburb of Clichy, was also fined EUR 150,000 euros for arranging the payments, which were made over seven years from 1988.

In July's trial the court heard that Schuller used the money to finance his personal campaign to beome a departmental councillor for Chirac's Rally for the Republic (RPR) party.

Schuller, 58, who fled abroad for several years to escape charges, has claimed throughout that he is a scapegoat for practices that were general during Chirac's long tenure of the Paris mayorship from 1979 to 1995.

"I was just an air-steward on the airline, and you can't blame a steward when there's a crash," Schuller said after the verdict.

Patrick Balkany, a parliamentary deputy from Chirac's renamed Union for Popular Movement (UMP) party, was cleared of all charges by the court in the Paris suburb of Creteil.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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