Mrs Chirac’s wealthy brother is living in Paris council flat

SHAFAQNA – The Parisian elite is facing new embarrassment after relevations that the brother of France’s former first lady is living in a state-subsidised flat designed for those struggling to make ends meet.

Jérôme Chodron de Courcel, whose aristocratic family is among the wealthiest in France, has been living in the flat owned by Paris council in the chic Marais district for 30 years, and paying less than half the rent demanded by private landlords, Le Monde reported.

His sister, Bernadette Chirac, was France’s first lady between 1995 and 2007 when Jacques, her husband, was president.

The flats are meant to be reserved for those who might otherwise be unable to pay commercial rents, with families with two children disqualified if they earn more than €54,000 per year.

In practice, however, about one in three people living in the flats exceeds the limit, with politicians, journalists and celebrities occupying them. Dozens of city councillors have also been found to be living in superior-quality local authority flats where they pay unbeatable rents.

The scandal has fuelled claims that France is run by a self-serving elite that is out of touch with the rest of the nation. Anne Hidalgo, the mayor, has promised to raise the rents paid by the council’s wealthiest tenants in a bid to “moralise” public life.

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