Former French President Jacques Chirac
Former French President Jacques Chirac was found guilty of Corruption by a Paris court on December 15 2011. Reuters

A French court has convicted former President Jacques Chirac of diverting public funds and abusing public confidence.

Chirac, 79, who was president between 1995 and 2007, did not attend the court's ruling to hear the verdict due to ill health.

His doctors say he is suffering from "severe" neurological problems.

He was put on trial on charges that dated back to his time as mayor of Paris and was accused of paying members of his Rally for the Republic party for municipal jobs that did not exist

In a statement read at the trial Chirac said he "did not commit any legal or moral offence".