French minister resigns amid corruption allegations

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The French Minister for War Veterans, Kader Arif, a close ally of President François Hollande, on Friday became the third member of the country’s socialist government to resign amid a corruption scandal. His resignation was announced 24 hours after Mediapart revealed his offices had been searched by police investigating allegations of favouritism and fraud in the awarding of contracts worth several million euros to companies run by Arif’s relatives by a socialist-run regional council in his fiefdom in south-west France. The junior minister’s resignation is another severe blow for Hollande who, after making transparency in public office a key theme of his term in office, has already been embarrassed by the forced resignation of budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac for tax evasion and that of overseas trade minister Thomas Thévenoud for failing to pay income tax. Mathieu Magnaudeix and Michel Deléan report.

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In a statement released on Friday afternoon, the French presidential office announced it had accepted the resignation of Kader Arif, junior minister responsible for war veterans and military commemorations, the third socialist minister forced to resign amid personal scandal.