[JURIST] French President Jacques Chirac [official profile; BBC profile] will be questioned by a judge this summer regarding his involvement in rigging public works contracts to finance political parties when he was mayor of Paris in the late 1980s and early '90s, according to justice officials Thursday. It is alleged that from 1988 to 1997, companies kicked back money spent by the regional Ile-de-France Council [official website, in French] for secondary school construction, to political parties including Chirac's Rally for the Republic (RPR) [Wikipedia backgrounder], the Republican Party (PR) [Wikipedia backgrounder] and the Socialists (PS) [official website]. Chirac, who steps down as president in May, enjoys presidential immunity until one month after his term ends. The news comes four days after Chirac announced he would not be running for a third term [AP report].
Last July, associates of Chirac were convicted of corruption [JURIST report] in the same kickback scheme. At the time, Chirac refused to appear before the court but denied allegations that he knew about the kickbacks. Chirac stands to face questioning on other alleged corruption schemes during his time as mayor. In September, fifteen of his allies went on trial for allegedly rigging a Paris election [JURIST report] during Chirac's tenure as mayor. Investigators also believe he used public funding to pay for personal vacations during his mayoral term. AFP has more.