The budget minister and the Swiss bank account: why only an independent judicial investigation will do
Budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac has adopted a fresh strategy as he tries to defend himself against Mediapart's investigation that shows he had an undisclosed Swiss bank account until 2010. Cahuzac is trying to get the bank to waive its banking secrecy rules to confirm he held no such account – something the bank has so far refused to do. But as François Bonnet and Dan Israel point out, behind this apparent delaying tactic there is a clear conflict of interest between Cahuzac the budget minister and Cahuzac the private bank customer. Which is why, they argue, only an independent judicial investigation can get to the heart of the affair.
Seattle real estate developer Michael Mastro and his wife are arrested in France pending extradition to US on charges of money laundering and fraud.
They are now about to end their lives amusing the nouveau rich beside swimming pools and on golf courses. The unluckiest will be replanted as zoo-like curiosities in ornamental gardens in northern Europe, even Russia, where the cold and lack of light will turn them sterile. At the current rate of uprooting, these majestic and viable olive trees, many hundreds of years old, some even a thousand years old, will have entirely disappeared from southern Portugal and Spain in the space of a generation. Philippe Riès reports on an ecological and cultural disaster caused by the perverse effects of European Union agricultural policies.
President Nicolas Sarkozy has clearly decided to make the fight against social benefits fraud, described by one of his ministers as "a cancer of French society", one of the main themes of his 2012 re-election campaign. While that will not officially begin until early next year, this week saw a carefully coordinated blitz against the increasingly stigmatised welfare dependent, and which announces the colour of the presidential election debate ahead. Marine Turchi reports.