Laurent Fabius was caught in a scandal in the mid-1980s after HIV-contaminated blood was knowingly given to French patients
Here are some of the most notorious scandals over the past three decades:
The government of Socialist prime minister Laurent Fabius was caught in a scandal in the mid-1980s after HIV-contaminated blood was knowingly given to French patients. Fabius himself was acquitted of manslaughter in the case, while former health minister Edmond Herve was convicted but not sentenced.
Newspapers Liberation and Le Monde revealed in 1993 that the telephones of more than 100 people had been tapped between 1983 and 1986 at the request of the presidential palace's anti-terrorist unit.
In 2005, seven officials were given suspended sentences, including the head of then French president Francois Mitterrand's cabinet.
As investigating judge at Paris' top court, Eva Joly uncovered several cases of fraud at France's leading oil company Elf Aquitaine, resulting in the conviction of dozens of persons involved in the oil business.
In 2001 former French Socialist foreign minister Roland Dumas was sentenced to six months in jail and fined 150,000 euros for receiving gifts illegally paid for by Elf, before being acquitted on appeal.
Former minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn, one of the world's most prominent public figures and formerly a Socialist frontrunner for the French presidency, was forced to resign as IMF chief in 2011 after being accused by a 32-year-old hotel chambermaid, Nafissatou Diallo, of sexual assault in his suite in a New York Sofitel hotel. The charges were later dropped and the affair ended with a confidential financial accord with his accuser.
Former conservative president Jacques Chirac was in December 2011 given a two-year suspended jail sentence after being found guilty of embezzlement in connection with charges that he used public money to pay people working for his political party while he was Paris mayor.
Before that, in 2004, former rightwing prime minister Alain Juppe was given a 14-month suspended jail sentence and banned from holding office for a year, in a party finance scandal from the 1980s when he was finance director at Paris City Hall under Chirac.
Former rightwing president Nicolas Sarkozy has faced a number of legal probes into corruption and campaign financing violations since he left office in May 2012 and he lost his presidential immunity. He was charged in February with illegal financing of his 2012 campaign.
Judicial authorities are investigating claims that he received millions in his 2007 campaign funding from the regime of late Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.