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Former Interior minister on trial for corruption

A former French Interior minister and mentor of Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy appeared in a special court in Paris yesterday on three separate corruption charges.

Charles Pasqua, 83, is only the sixth minister to be judged by the Court of Justice of the Republic, a special court created in 1993 to examine alleged crimes committed by government ministers while in office. Mr Pasqua faces a possible 10-year prison sentence over three allegations of corruption during his time as Interior minister from 1993 to 1995.

In the first, permission for a previously rejected casino at Annemasse, near Geneva, was granted to a gambling mogul whose daughter later illegally financed Mr Pasqua's European electoral campaign in 1999. The former minister is also accused of receiving money in planning permission and foreign arms deals.

Nearly 60 witnesses will testify during the nine-day trial.