Former French security chief Charles Pasqua dies at 88

AP News
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Posted: Jun 30, 2015 1:09 PM
Former French security chief Charles Pasqua dies at 88

PARIS (AP) — Charles Pasqua, a French Resistance fighter who went on to become France's top security chief and a powerful player on the French right, has died in Paris. He was 88.

French President Francois Hollande confirmed the death in a communique Tuesday, calling him a "Gaullist" whose "whole personality enlivened French political life."

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy — who became an ally of Pasqua after beating him out for a mayoral race in 1983 — said in a tweet that "France has lost one of its greatest servants."

Pasqua faced multiple corruption trials and scandals, and was well known for hard-line anti-terrorist and anti-immigration policies.

He was inspired by post World War II President Charles de Gaulle, a symbol of the French Resistance, who came to stand for a strong economy, strong leadership and French national unity.

Born in the southern French town of Grasse on April 18, 1927, Pasqua met future President Francois Mitterrand as a Resistance fighter in World War II.

He started his political career in 1952, and later served under Charles de Gaulle. He became interior minister in 1986, when Socialist Francois Mitterrand was president and conservative Jacques Chirac prime minister. He served as interior minister once again from 1993-95.

But the end of his political life was marked by chronic allegations of corruption. In 2009, he was found guilty of illegally funding his 1999 European Parliament campaign and a year later he was given a one-year suspended sentence for the misappropriation of public funds to benefit Sofremi, an arms export company overseen by the interior ministry.