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Chirac food exes probe passes try-by date


PARIS, March 18 (AFP) – A French judge has decided there are no legal grounds for a case over President Jacques Chirac’s use of entertainment expenses while he was mayor of Paris, judicial sources said Thursday.

Investigating judge Philippe Courroye has ruled that the statute of limitations means it is too late for Chirac and his wife Bernadette to be the subject of a criminal investigation for their entertainment and food expenses between 1977 and 1995.

His decision comes after a report by inspectors from the Paris city hall, made in 2002 on the instruction of current Socialist mayor Bertrand Delanoe, revealed the Chiracs’ lavish expenditure on food while he was mayor.

The report said that the Chiracs spent a total of EUR 2.21 million on catering personnel and food. Some 1.45 million of this was paid in cash.

On the basis of the report, the mayor’s office then brought a case against persons unknown. It has the right to appeal against the ruling.Presidential immunity prevents Chirac from being called before a judge until his mandate ends in 2007, but his wife enjoys no such protection.


                                                              Subject: France news