France Investigation

Billionaire Dassault on trial over hidden offshore cash

Serge Dassault, the head of the aviation and defence group that bears his name, a right-wing senator and France's sixth richest person, is accused of laundering the proceeds of tax fraud and of hiding part of his wealth from Parliamentary authorities. The trial, which started on Monday July 4th, focuses on cash hidden in offshore accounts which was allegedly later used to buy votes in the town near Paris where Dassault was mayor. As Yann Philippin reports, the origins of some of these accounts goes back to the days of Serge Dassault's father Marcel, who founded the aviation group.

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French billionaire Serge Dassault has gone on trial in Paris at the age of 91. Seven years after the start of the vote-buying scandal in Corbeil-Essonnes, near Paris, where Dassault was mayor, the industrialist and right-wing Senator faces charges at the criminal court in Paris. However in the current trial, which began on Monday July 4th and is due to last four days, Dassault is not charged with electoral corruption – he is still being formally investigated over that. Instead the charges relate to the money he stashed in undeclared foreign bank accounts which is then said to have been brought into France to help buy votes in his home town.

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