In a landmark case against political corruption, former French president Jacques Chirac was found guilty of embezzlement today. The Washington Post reports:
The court said Thursday it had found Chirac guilty in two related cases involving fake jobs created at the RPR party, which he led during his 1977-1995 tenure as Paris mayor. He was convicted of embezzling public funds, abuse of trust, and illegal conflict of interest.
Chirac won’t go to jail. He is old and unwell. But the guilty verdict is a victory for justice in politics, for truth in government, and for the French people.
Chirac is the first ex-head of France to be convicted of a crime since Marshal Philippe Pétain, the WWI hero who led the Vichy government after France’s 1940 defeat. The court said that status was one reason for sparing Chirac the indignity of jail.This is wrong. Those in high places who break the law betray public trust and should be held to a higher standard than ordinary mortals who err. The greater the eminence the greater the crime.