Jacques Chirac certainly received a lot of front-page coverage when he was criticizing George Bush. But his his own serious scandal is being almost completely ignored in the American press. Except for the New York Sun, which picks up on the Daily Telegraph's coverage:
President Chirac could become the first former French president to be questioned over alleged criminal acts while in office. Judges intend to question Mr. Chirac in the coming weeks despite his claims of immunity from prosecution.
Recently discovered documents suggest Mr. Chirac could be at the heart of the Clearstream scandal - described as the French Watergate. Judges will question his former prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, on September 13.
Clearstream centers on a failed attempt to smear Mr. Chirac's successor, President Sarkozy, 52, who was wrongly accused of money laundering via a Luxembourg holding bank of that name in 2004. Mr. Sarkozy has allegedly pledged to hang the culprit "on a butcher's hook."
Messrs. de Villepin and Chirac were reported to be desperate to block Mr. Sarkozy's presidential ambitions at the time. The pair has been forbidden from talking to each other by investigators.