French ex-president Chirac corruption trial opens
Jacques Chirac on Monday became the first former French president to go on trial as a court heard charges he embezzled public funds while he was mayor of Paris in the 1990s.
The 78-year-old, one of France's most popular political figures, was not present for the opening of the trial that will examine whether he misused public money to pay people working for his political party.
Chirac enjoyed immunity from prosecution as president from 1995 to 2007, but the case, which has already seen current Foreign Minister Alain Juppe convicted, has finally caught up with him.
He was Paris mayor from 1977 to 1995.
© 2011 AFP