Rachida Dati: Former French minister facing jail over Carlos Ghosn corruption charge

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Rachida Dati (AFP via Getty Images)
Rachida Dati (AFP via Getty Images)

A former French justice minister once tipped to become the country's first woman president is facing jail over corruption offences.

Rachida Dati, 55, is accused both of "passive corruption by a person holding an elective mandate" and of "benefiting from abuse of power" over her dealings with disgraced former Renault chief Carlos Ghosn.

The charges Dati is facing relate to consulting work she did for Ghosn between 2010 to 2012 when she was an MEP.

It is alleged that the right-wing member of the Republicans party, ho is now mayor of Paris’ 7th district, received almost €1m in lawyers fees and may have been engaged in lobbying, which would be illegal for European lawmakers.

If found guilty she faces up to 15 years in prison.

Dati's contract committed her to helping with Renault's international expansion, particularly in the Middle East and northern Africa, it is alleged.

She was asked for the work to be kept strictly confidential, according to Le Monde newspaper.

Dati previously had a glittering career as a close ally of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, who was given a prison sentence earlier this year after being found guilty of trying to bribe a judge.

The former president took her to a Windsor Castle state banquet held by the Queen and Prince Philip. She served in Sarkozy's government between 2007 and 2009 and was also his election campaign spokeswoman.

Dati was questioned by prosecutors as an ‘assisted witness’ over the corruption allegations for 16 hours in November.

She was charged with the offences on Tuesday. Her lawyers have not commented on the most recent allegations. However, her defence team has previously argued that all of her income was declared and that a three-year statute of limitations should apply.

France's financial crimes unit disagreed and pursued its case that had been triggered by a legal complaint from a Renault shareholder.

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