Verdict on Juppe’s corruption appeal looms

30th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 30 (AFP) - Former French prime minister Alain Juppe will on Wednesday receive the verdict of an appeals court examining his conviction in January on corruption charges and the sentence which forced him out of politics.

PARIS, Nov 30 (AFP) - Former French prime minister Alain Juppe will on Wednesday receive the verdict of an appeals court examining his conviction in January on corruption charges and the sentence which forced him out of politics.

Juppe, 59, was given a suspended 18-month prison sentence and disqualified from public office for 10 years for "taking illegal benefits" by arranging the payment of seven workers from President Jacques Chirac's RPR party from Paris municipal funds between 1988 and 1995.

His appeal, heard by a court in Versailles, west of Paris, ended a month ago with state prosecutors calling for the suspended jail term to remain but the associated disqualification to be reduced from 10 years to two.

Juppe, a Chirac loyalist who served as prime minister from 1995 to 1997, had to give up his leadership of the ruling conservative UMP party that assimilated the RPR.

That post was taken Sunday by Nicolas Sarkozy, a rival to Chirac who is seen as a presidential candidate in 2007 elections.

Juppe, who has also ceded his parliamentary seat and remains on only as mayor of the southwestern city of Bordeaux, admitted at the opening of the appeal on October 13 that "I probably committed errors, even blunders" but said he never intended to break the law and should therefore not have received such a heavy sentence.

Although Juppe's conviction stemmed from the time Chirac was mayor of Paris, the president himself has ducked questioning over his own role in the affair by invoking immunity.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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