Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Wow! The Chiracs sure do enjoy fine food, to what would seem an...excessive...degree.

A Paris investigating magistrate has overruled the recommendation of a senior public prosecutor and set up a formal inquiry into the £1.4m grocery bill claimed by Jacques Chirac and his wife during eight of the 18 years that the president spent as mayor of the French capital.

While Mr Chirac cannot be prosecuted (or questioned) as long as he remains in office, the decision could affect his wife, Bernadette, who may have to explain how the couple could consume up to £100 of fruit and veg and £37 of tea and coffee a day, mostly paid for in cash and justified with receipts which, in many cases, appear to have been doctored.

Because most of the files from the early years of the Chirac tenure were shredded before municipal elections in 2000, the report covers only the years 1987-1995. But the evidence looks strong: during those eight years alone, the Chiracs claimed for, and were reimbursed, £1.45m for their personal food bills.

Some £950,000 of the bills, which are entirely separate from the mayor's annual £1m entertainment budget, were paid in cash apparently taken from the proceeds of the town hall's staff bar. The money was reimbursed in exchange for receipts that "in many instances give rise to suspicions of substantial fraud", the report says.

< email | 6/12/2003 02:32:00 PM | link

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