A look at some of France's previous scandals:
1892: The Panama affair – an early scheme to dig the Panama Canal went bust; Parliament had endorsed a risky manoeuvre which led to investors losing millions; far-right papers unearthed evidence of MPs taking bribes and the government fell.
1933: The Stavisky affair – A crooked financier’s suicide revealed malpractice by ministers, top police officers and many more; led to a violent confrontation between fascists and police in which 14 died; the government fell.
1991: The Urba affair – companies bidding for public contracts were found to have made secret payments to the Socialist Party; several prominent party members, including party treasurer and MP Henri Emanuelli, were found guilty of corruption.
1993: The Pelat affair – Prime Minister Pierre Bérégovoy was found to have accepted an interest-free loan to buy a swish Paris apartment from Roger-Patrice Pelat, a friend of President François Mitterrand implicated in other corruption cases; the Socialists were defeated in that year’s election; no case against Bérégovoy was ever filed; he committed suicide in May 1993.
1994: The Méry affair: As Jacques Chirac and Edouard Balladur fought for the nomination of the country's main right-wing party, the RPR, in the 1995 presidential election, businessman Jean-Claude Méry is accused of drawn up fake bills for work on council housing in Paris and the sourrounding region so as to finance the RPR; before dying of cancer in 1999, Méry recorded a video-cassette claiming to have given Chirac five million francs in cash (762,000 euros); the case against Chirac is dropped because the principal witness is dead.
1995: Laurent Juppé’s apartment: Prime Minister Alain Juppé was found to have told the Paris authorities to reduce the rent of a 189m² Paris apartment, redecorated with public funds, which is being let to his son, Laurent; the case is dropped on condition that the Juppés leave the apartment.
1998: Phantom jobs for the Paris council – Companies bidding for contracts in Paris are found to have financed President Jacques Chirac’s RPR party by creating fake jobs for party members and employees; the RPR also created phantom jobs on the city council payroll; Alain Juppé is given an 18-month suspended sentence; an inquiry into Chirac’s implication is still ongoing.
Other post-war politicians implicated in scandals have included International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former Interior Minister Charles Pasqua, former Industry Minister Gérard Longuet and former economy minster Hervé Gaymard.
President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing was accused of receiving a gift of one-million-francs-worth (152,000 euros) of diamonds from the Central African Republic’s dictatorial ruler, Jean-Bedel Bokassa. At least nine scandals have been associated with Jacques Chirac.
Presidents benefit from immunity from prosecution while in office.