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French politician convicted for corruption

Published on February 20, 2007

PARIS, Feb 20, 2007 (AFP) - The chairman of the greater Paris region, Socialist Jean-Paul Huchon, was fined 60,000 euros (79,000 dollars) and given a six-month suspended jail sentence on Tuesday for corruption.

A Paris criminal court also ordered that Huchon be stripped of his mandate for one year, but the ruling will not be carried out until an appeal lodged by the regional leader is heard.

Huchon, who did not attend the hearing, was convicted of influence-peddling in connection with contracts awarded to three public relations firms that employed his wife in 2002 and 2003.

The 60-year-old politician, who has been regional government head of the Ile-de-France region since 1998, “placed his personal interests above the general interest” that he was entrusted to defend, said the ruling.

During the trial that opened last month, the prosecution had requested a 10-month suspended sentence for Huchon, a 75,000-euro fine and that his mandate be revoked for one year.

France is in the throes of a election campaign that is pitting Socialist candidate Segolene Royal against rightwing rival Nicolas Sarkozy in a battle for the presidency.  A first round of voting is scheduled for April 22 with a run-off set for May 6.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news