Madame Chirac 'bagged war spoil carpet'
PARIS, April 22 (AFP) - The wife of the French president, Bernadette Chirac, was due to face allegations against her on Wednesday that she owns a carpet confiscated from Jews during World War II.
The Association of Jews Despoiled during the War (AJSG) says Jacques Chirac's wife may possess "a huge and splendid carpet... woven in the 17th century for the Louvre on the order of Louis XIV" and seized from Jews during the 1940s.
The AJSG is calling for her to return the carpet to the state body Mobilier National (National Heritage), which has already denied that the carpet was despoiled.
As is customary in civil cases, Bernadette Chirac will not appear in court, according to a source close to the case.
Jean-David Leibovici, who represents the AJSG, said that the carpet was listed as being in lodgings provided to Bernadette and her husband during his time as mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995.
"Bernadette Chirac took the carpet with her when she left the Paris town hall," said Leibovici. "And it cannot be found at the Elysee Palace (the official residence of the president)."
The Mobilier National says that the court case is the result of confusion, maintaining that the carpet in question was never at the Elysee and remains in the possession of the French state.