Blacque Jacques Chirac’s “lunch money”
Last March I posted that 47 people were on trial for rigging public works contracts (ah, a whiff of New Jersey chez le Seine?) and that on Nov. 2002 Chirac had avoided prosecution over his exhorbitant food bills (which avearaged 600 euros (£420) a day on average between 1988 and 1995) from back when he was mayor of Paris because the statute of limitations had ran out.
Now Socialist MP René Dosière (emphasis mine) sheds light on Chirac’s mysterious millions
· President costs taxpayer three times official figure
· Elysée Palace has 1,000 staff and budget of €82m
the palace’s annual budget – which MPs set this week at €32.7m (about £22m) for 2006 – represents only a third of what it actually gets. Mr Dosière revealed that the Elysée employs about 1,000 staff, “the equivalent of the municipal workforce of a town of 50,000 people”. He said the palace’s “extraordinary opaqueness” meant he could not rule out further serious “Republican anomalies”.
In a financial maneuver worthy of the UN,
. . . Mr Chirac also pays some 150 to 200 employees out of his “official” budget, meaning he has at his disposal a staff of 1,000, Mr Dosière said. He has calculated that some 280 hours of presidential flying time, at an average cost to the taxpayer of €5,750 per hour, are unaccounted for by his official requirements.
But perhaps the biggest mystery is the president’s salary, which is fixed not by law but by himself and amounts – officially but hardly credibly – to just €6,594 a month, less than a third of that of the prime minister (€20,206) and less than half that of a minister (€13.471).
Très cher, that Jacques.
As if this wasn’t enough bad news for Jacques, The Telegraph has this story, How Chirac ‘ordered’ his own secret, secret service
A former French secret agent has accused President Jacques Chirac of ordering him to run a private secret service to channel ransom money to hostage-takers in Lebanon and Bosnia.
. . .
But Marchiani claims that the money was transferred to his accounts to set up an “intelligence outfit” on the orders of the former interior minister, Charles Pasqua in the mid-1980s, when Mr Chirac was prime minister.
“It was a system put in place at the request of Charles Pasqua in place of the official secret services,” said Marchiani.
Marchiani said he used the funds to secure the release of hostages in Lebanon, held by Hizbollah in 1986.
“We did not collaborate with the French secret services, we worked in their place,” he said.
The official French line is that Paris has never paid for the release of hostages.
Life goes on and eesterday Jacques and Tony met, while the Beeb says Bonhomie was restored – but the EU lacks a common vision
Update: Unhappy frogs