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The Independent Online
THE CORRUPTION allegations single out a former prime minister; a former foreign minister; a former justice minister; the mayor of Paris; the man who was finance minister until last month plus 2,000 officials and politicians of almost all parties.

If it were not for a controversial clause of the constitution of the Fifth Republic, the list would begin with the President, Jacques Chirac (below). There are now four inquiries into the financing of Rassemble- ment pour la Repub-lique, the neo-Gaullist party he founded in 1976. Mr Chirac has been connected with the alleged "embezzlement" of public or company funds for the party. The socialist finance minister, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, resigned after allegations that he took fees. A former socialist foreign minister, Roland Dumas, is accused of taking bribes to drop his opposition to an arms sale to China.