FRANCE: Giscard Slips off Olympus

Diamonds and austerity lower the President's lofty standing

A girl's best friend can be a politician's worst enemy. Last week the French satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaîné charged that President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, while serving as Finance Minister six years ago, had accepted a 30-carat tray of diamonds worth $240,000 from Jean-Bédel Bokassa, who was deposed as Emperor of the Central African Republic last month. There is no law prohibiting French politicians from accepting such largesse. The Elysée Palace, in fact, while trying to minimize what it called the "nature and value" of the gifts, did not deny that a "traditional...

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