Former French PM guilty of illegal funding

A French court has handed former prime minister and current ruling party leader Alain Juppe an 18-month suspended sentence for illegal party funding.

    Juppe (R), is appealing the sentence of illegal funding

    But he immediately appealed the ruling on Friday which then blocked his disqualification from office.

    Juppe, one of President Jacques Chirac's closest allies, was found guilty by the court in the western Paris suburb of Nanterre of "taking illegal benefits" while Chirac was mayor of Paris and Juppe managed the finances at city hall.

    Juppe - who heads the pro-Chirac Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party and is also mayor of the south-western city of Bordeaux - was one of 27 people who stood trial last year on charges of organising the illegal payment of staff salaries at the UMP's precursor, Chirac's Rally for the Republic (RPR).

    His conviction automatically carried a disqualification from holding public office but his appeal puts the penalty on hold, leaving the 58-year-old Juppe in political limbo and unable to pursue his ambitions to succeed Chirac as president in 2007.

    Among the other defendants, former RPR official Louise-Yvonne Casetta, 62, was handed a 14-month suspended sentence for her involvement in the scam. Former party treasurer Jacques Boyon was handed a 14-month suspended sentence.



    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.