French ministers lay bare their financial and property interests

The new watchdog overseeing the probity of France's elected representatives and officials has just published a report on the property and financial interests of government ministers. As expected the foreign minister Laurent Fabius came out top in the net worth stakes, followed by parliamentary relations minister Jean-Marie Le Guen who was obliged by the watchdog to re-evaluate upwards the value of his property, while Europe minister Harlem Désir emerges as the least well-off member of the government. But while the publication of the list is a welcome step towards transparency in public life after the débâcle of the Jérome Cahuzac affair, there are still some puzzling gaps and omissions on the list.

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It is a small revolution, but a revolution nonetheless. On Friday June 27th, the new Haute Autorité pour la Transparence de la Vie Publique (HATVP) or High Authority on Transparency in Public Life, published details of the property assets and financial interests of the members of the French government. Top of the 'wealth' list (see below) is foreign minister Laurent Fabius with assets of more than 5 million euros, while at the other end of the spectrum is Europe minister and former first secretary of the Socialist Party Harlém Désir, who owns no property and whose total assets come to just over 35,000 euros.