Due to ill-health, the 79-year-old Chirac was not present to hear the court’s verdict but had denied wrongdoing.

French president from 1995 to 2007, the former politician was put on trial on charges that dated back to his time as mayor of Paris – a job he held from 1977 to 1995,

He was accused of paying members of his Rally for the Republic (RPR) party for municipal jobs that did not exist.

The prosecution had urged the judge to acquit Mr Chirac and nine others accused in the trial. Two of the nine were cleared. The other seven were found guilty.

In 2004, during his presidency, several figures including France’s current Foreign Minister Alain Juppe were convicted in connection with the case.

Chiracis the first former French head of state to be convicted since Marshal Philippe Petain, the leader of the wartime Vichy regime, was found guilty in 1945 of collaborating with the Nazis.

The former president’s doctors say he has irreversible neurological problems which cause memory lapses.

His legal team will now decide whether to appeal against the conviction