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French ex-interior minister convicted of corruption

PARIS -- A senator who was France's interior minister and a powerful advisor in French politics was convicted Friday by a special court of corruption involving lucrative police equipment contracts.

The 83-year-old Charles Pasqua, long one of France's most influential conservative politicians, does not have to serve prison time or pay any fines in the case. He was given a suspended one-year sentence.

He was acquitted Friday in two other corruption cases, including one centred around a coveted casino license.

All involved actions while he was interior minister in the 1990s. He was tried simultaneously for three different cases by the Court of Justice of the Republic, the only body that can try people for actions by people while they served in government.

Prosecutors had sought a two-year prison sentence and a 200,000 euro (US$266,300) fine for all three cases, saying millions of euros were embezzled under Pasqua.

Pasqua denied wrongdoing and said he “regrets nothing.”

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