L’escroc Chirac found guilty: who’s next?
L’escroc, which means “crook” or “swindler” in French,s what people have been calling the ex-President of France, Jacques Chirac, for years. Quite rightly too as it turns out:
The 79-year-old statesman, who was excused from court on medical grounds, was found guilty of influence peddling, breach of trust and embezzlement between 1990 and 1995, when he was mayor of the French capital.
In their ruling, judges said Chirac’s behaviour had cost Paris taxpayers the equivalent of 1.4 million euros ($1.8 million).
“Jacques Chirac breached the duty of trust that weighs on public officials charged with caring for public funds or property, in contempt of the general interest of Parisians,” the ruling said.
Sadly, no jail time on the basis that he’s already senile. But note what it actually was that he got done for:
He was convicted of hiring members of his political party for non-existent municipal jobs, using the civic payroll to employ his own campaign staff.
In all, 19 fake jobs were created in Paris and its suburb Nanterre between 1990 and 1995, ahead of Chirac’s successful presidential bid.
This isn’t like the MPs’ expenses thing, where they were taking money for their own pockets. No, this takes the idea of the misuse of public funds a lot, lot further. It sounds really very much like a legal idea we should import into the UK.
Imagine, a Mayor of a big city, possibly even the capital, hiring mates and election workers on the public payroll. Or that misuse of public property: so how many people get preferential access to social housing because they help out the local politicians?
Actually, in our own dear green and pleasant land I can, just off the top of my head, think of one person who fits both those categories. Yes, prosecuting a few of our own politicians on the same grounds would be a good idea I feel: except we’ll jail them as well, right?