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Chirac's daughter quizzed

Claude Chirac pictured with her father  

PARIS, France -- The daughter of French President Jacques Chirac has been questioned over corruption allegations involving her father.

Claude Chirac, 38, was summoned by judges looking into airplane tickets Chirac had bought between 1992 and 1995 when he was the mayor of Paris.

Investigators are trying to find out why 20 flights worth 2.4 million francs ($312,000) taken by Chirac, his family and associates were paid for in cash.

CNN's Paris Bureau Chief Peter Humi said the judges are probing allegations that the money for the tickets came from kickbacks paid by builders who were given school construction contracts during Chirac's tenure as mayor, with amounts ranging from 1,226,749 to 2,453,497 francs ($160,000 to $320,000).

CNN's Peter Humi: Plot thickens in Chirac case
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The cash-for-tickets allegations emerged as investigators pursued another investigation, also stemming from Chirac's term at City Hall, where he was mayor from 1977 to 1995.

Chirac has denied any wrongdoing, and no charges have been filed against him, Humi reported.

Three investigating judges in the case questioned Claude Chirac, who is also a presidential adviser, for an hour on Wednesday morning, a Chirac spokesman told The Associated Press.

Four Chirac aides were also questioned on Tuesday in connection with the case, judicial sources told AP.

Two judges questioned Maurice Ulrich, a senator from Chirac's Rally for the Republic party and an adviser to the president, for nearly two hours. Police specialising in financial investigations questioned three people who were aides to Chirac while he was mayor.

Chirac has refused a summons to testify on the grounds that doing so would erode the constitutional precedent of separation of powers.

His political backers have denied that the money was from kickbacks, saying it was from government allowances and Chirac's own funds, Humi said.

Chirac's wife is also expected to be summoned to testify.

His office said Chirac will address the matter when he makes the traditional Bastille Day speech to the nation on Saturday.

It said the money for the plane tickets came from a special fund allotted to prime ministers, which is not subject to official oversight.

Chirac, who heads the right-wing Rally for the Republic Party, is expected to run again for president next year.

• Chirac rejects court summons
March 28, 2001
• Chirac dogged by corruption claims
December 6, 2000
• Chirac in dispute with judiciary
March 29, 2001

• Office of the French President

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