Published: Thursday, April 4, 2013

France in uproar over minister’s tax scam

France in uproar over  minister's tax scam

Francois Hollande and Jerome Cahuzac

French President Francois Hollande yesterday vowed that a new law on the “publication and control” of ministers’ wealth would be presented within weeks, after his ex-budget minister was charged in a tax evasion probe.
Hollande said the former minister, Jerome Cahuzac, “did not benefit from any protection” from top officials and that his actions were an “insult to the Republic”.
Hollande promised “a ruthless fight against conflicts between public and private interests and to ensure the publication and control of the wealth of ministers and parliamentarians.”
He said the government would submit a law to parliament on these measures “in the weeks to come”.
The president also said elected officials convicted of tax fraud or corruption would be banned from holding public office and that new measures would be taken from this summer to reinforce the independence of the judiciary.
Cahuzac — the minister once responsible for cracking down on tax evasion — was charged Tuesday with “laundering the proceeds of tax fraud” after he admitted to having a foreign bank account containing some 600,000 euros ($770,000), following weeks of denials.
“This was a mistake, an unpardonable mistake. It was an insult to the Republic,” Hollande said. “Every light will be shed on this and the justice system will pursue its work to the end and in all independence.”