The French budget minister, the Swiss account and the judicial inertia that begs major reform

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French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac earlier this month announced he was suing Mediapart for defamation after this website published an investigation revealing that he had held for a number of years, before he became a member of the government, a secret Swiss bank account. Since its first report, Mediapart has published further information including a tape recording in which a voice identified by witnesses in the affair as that of Cahuzac can be heard discussing the account. While the government stands by its budget minister, who denies ever holding a bank account abroad, the justice authorities have made no move to investigate the case, prompting Mediapart’s Editor-in-Chief Edwy Plenel to write to the Paris public prosecutor’s office demanding an independent judicial enquiry. In this interview, Mediapart’s lawyer, Jean-Pierre Mignard, argues that the judicial inertia is the result of the submissive hierarchical relationship between the prosecutor’s office and the executive political powers, one which President François Hollande has previously pledged to bring to an end.

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French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac earlier this month announced he was suing Mediapart for defamation after this website published an investigation revealing that he had held for a number of years, before he became a member of the government, a secret Swiss bank account. Since its first report, Mediapart has published further information (see links at end of page 2) including a tape recording in which a voice identified by witnesses in the affair as that of Cahuzac can be heard discussing the account. While the government stands by its budget minister, who denies ever holding a bank account abroad, the justice authorities have made no move to investigate the case, prompting Mediapart’s Editor-in-Chief Edwy Plenel to write to the Paris public prosecutor’s office on December 27th demanding an independent judicial enquiry. In this interview, Mediapart’s lawyer, Jean-Pierre Mignard, argues that the judicial inertia is the result of the long-standing submissive hierarchical relationship between the prosecutor’s office and the executive political powers, one which President François Hollande has previously pledged to bring to an end.