French Corruption Scandals Grow

The French just capped off a glorious week of scandal and corruption with the conviction of former PM Alain Juppé, a crony of Jacques Chirac:

In a stinging reverse for President Jacques Chirac, the former French prime minister Alain Juppé was banned from office for a decade yesterday after being found guilty of corrupt party financing. … A court in Nanterre in the Paris suburbs found him guilty yesterday of “taking illegal advantage” of public funds. He was given an 18-month suspended sentence and ordered to serve the mandatory 10-year suspension from elected office. More than a score of other serving or former party colleagues or associates of M. Juppé and M. Chirac were given suspended prison terms. …
The legal conviction of M. Juppé also amounts to a political indictment of M. Chirac. The offences of which M. Juppé was convicted – embezzling the money of Paris taxpayers by putting seven party officials on the town hall payroll – occurred while M. Chirac was mayor of the French capital. It is generally accepted that the President would also have stood trial if he had not been protected by his immunity as head of state.

After the publication of the oil-for-food bribery list, featuring prominent French politicians who made France the second-largest recipient of Saddam’s generosity, this additional scandal will rock Chirac’s standing in the EU. Added to Elf-Aquitaine and their insistence on getting immunity in the US for the Executive Life collapse, and it is apparent that Chirac may be running the most corrupt Western European government since the Nazis stole everything that wasn’t bolted down.
This scandal-ridden administration should make clear to all, especially Americans, that France no longer has any credibility. Chirac has forfeited any claim to speak for international agreements, let alone lecture the US on morality. Their self-assigned role as arbiter of our foreign policy, and the importance that certain politicians put in their opinion and assent, clearly are discredited now. Any candidate at any level that argues for French agreement (and Russian, for that matter) before pursuing foreign-policy and national-security objectives demonstrates their lack of qualification on national defense.