Former French interior minister Pasqua on trial

5th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

5 November 2007, PARIS (AFP) - Former French interior minister Charles Pasqua went on trial Monday on charges of using illegal funds to finance his rightwing party's 1999 successful campaign to the European parliament.

5 November 2007

PARIS (AFP) - Former French interior minister Charles Pasqua went on trial Monday on charges of using illegal funds to finance his rightwing party's 1999 successful campaign to the European parliament.

Pasqua is charged with illegal campaign financing, fraud and abuse of office in connection with the sale in 1995 of a casino in the Alpine Haute-Savoie region.

Prosecutors believe Pasqua granted a license when he was interior minister to a close aide to run a casino in Annemasse in 1994 that was sold a year later at a substantial profit.

Part of the profit from the sale, about 1.1 million euros (1.6 million dollars), went to the party's campaign coffers, according to prosecutors.

Pasqua, 80, made no statement as he entered the Paris courtroom for the the trial that is expected to last until November 28.

He is one of seven co-defendants in the case concerning the funding of the Rally for France (RPF) party, which he led with ultra-nationalist Philippe de Villiers in the 1999 European parliament elections.

While Pasqua, who served twice as interior minister under President Jacques Chirac, has been placed under investigation in connection with several shady dealings, it is the first time that a case against him has been brought to trial.

He faces charges of influence-peddling and corruption in an investigation into the UN oil-for-food programme with Iraq.

Pasqua has denied any wrongdoing in the party funding case.

The former minister won election to the European parliament in 1999, but failed to win re-election on the RPF ticket in 2004.

AFP

Subject: French news

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