Disgraced former minister Jérôme Cahuzac to stand trial for tax fraud

Budget minister was forced to resign in 2013 after Mediapart revealed that he held a secret Swiss bank account.

 

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The French budget minister, Jérôme Cahuzac, who was forced to resign in 2013 after Mediapart revealed he had a secret, undeclared Swiss bank account, is to stand trial for tax fraud.

Cahuzac, who initially denied the claims before finally admitting the existence of the account, will also face charges of laundering the proceeds of tax fraud and of making an incomplete declaration of his property ownership.

No date has been fixed for the hearing but in May financial prosecutor Eliane Houlette suggested that if there were a trial it could take place before the end of 2015.

Cahuzac's wife Patricia, from whom he is separated, will also stand trial for tax fraud and laundering the proceeds of tax fraud.

The Swiss bank Reyl et Cie, its boss François Reyl and financial advisor Philippe Houman will be tried for the laundering of the proceeds of tax fraud.

The disclosure that budget minister Cahuzac, who was in charge of the fight against tax fraud, held a secret, undisclosed bank account in Switzerland, the proceeds of which were later transferred to an account in Singapore, was the first major scandal of François Hollande's presidency.

After Mediapart broke the story in December 2012 Cahuzac at first strongly denied it, and received the backing of the president to stay in his post.

The minister then quit in March 2013 when the prosecution authorities opened a formal investigation into the affair, still protesting his innocence.

But shortly afterwards the former minister dramatically confessed that he had indeed held the account.

The ensuring scandal led to the creation of a new prosecution authority dealing with financial affairs, plus an obligation on ministers to publish details of their wealth.

Cahuzac was later excluded from the Socialist Party and stood down as a Member of Parliament.

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Read Mediapart's stories on the Cahuzac scandal here.

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