The grandson of Charles de Gaulle has been formally accused of fraud as part of a judicial investigation into the misuse of public funds at the Paris town hall when President Jacques Chirac was mayor.
Jean de Gaulle, 50, a member of parliament for the President's UMP party, is suspected of taking part in the systematic diversion of Paris taxpayers' money to run M. Chirac's now defunct neo-Gaullist party, the RPR.
He had been placed under judicial investigation - one step short of a criminal charge - for "receiving embezzled public funds". He is accused of hiring an assistant and speech-writer for his parliamentary work in 1990 and 1991, knowing that her salary would be paid by the city of Paris.
The allegation is that when M. de Gaulle hired Delphine Grèze in 1990, he gave her a town hall contract to sign but told her that she would work exclusively for him, writing speeches, magazine articles and parliamentary questions. According to the newspaper Le Monde, Mme Grèze told investigators that she "never set foot" in the Paris town hall.
A dozen people, including three former heads of M. Chirac's private office while he was mayor of Paris from 1977-1995, have already been placed under formal investigation by the examining magistrate Colette Bismuth-Sauron.