Former French finance minister Jérôme Cahuzac will next month stand trial on charges of tax evasion and money laundering. The trial follows a two-year judicial investigation which was itself prompted by Mediapart’s revelations that Cahuzac held a secret bank account abroad, which he first denied before finally confessing in April 2013. Mediapart has gained access to the concluding report by the magistrates which details the evidence for sending Cahuzac for trial. Fabrice Arfi reports.
An official French watchdog that monitors the financial probity of holders of public office has alerted the Paris public prosecutor’s office to its “serious doubt” that a French Senator and two members of the National Assembly, the lower house, deliberately under-declared their assets to parliament “notably due to the omission” of their secret bank accounts in Switzerland. The cases of Senator Bruno Sido and MPs Lucien Degauchy and Bernard Brochand, all from the conservative opposition UMP party, emerge just one year after the socialist government’s budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac was forced to resign following Mediapart’s revelations of his secret account with Swiss bank UBS, and months after a junior minister was found to have avoided paying income tax for several years. Mathilde Mathieu reports.
After less than a fortnight in his new job, France's overseas trade minister Thomas Thévenoud has dramatically and abruptly quit over problems with his tax returns. According to Mediapart's sources, the new minister had not filled in his tax returns for several years. In a statement Thévenoud admitted to “delays” in his declaration and payment of tax owed, though stressed that the matter has now been sorted out. Nonetheless the sudden loss of another minister in this manner will come as a blow to the new government formed by prime minister Manuel Valls on August 26th, which saw the enforced departure of heavyweight economy minister Arnaud Montebourg. It also comes against a backdrop of poor economic results and plummeting opinion polls for Valls and, above all, President François Hollande. Mathilde Mathieu and Lénaïg Bredoux report.
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.
Amid a fast-developing dispute between the French and Swiss justice services, two Paris magistrates leading a judicial investigation into how former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac established secret foreign bank accounts are this week due to question two Swiss bankers about their roles in helping him hide funds from the French tax authorities over two decades. François Reyl, CEO of Geneva bank Reyl & Cie and his father Dominique Reyl, founder of the company, have been summoned to appear before the magistrates on Tuesday and Wednesday, when they face being placed under investigation for ‘laundering the proceeds of tax evasion’. Agathe Duparc reports on the background to what may prove to be a legal watershed for the Swiss banking industry, whose 'professional confidentiality' the justice authorities in Bern have shown themselves keen to protect.(See update at end of article page)
Disgraced French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac in April finally admitted holding a secret, tax-evading bank account abroad, the existence of which was first revealed by Mediapart in December 2012. Now Mediapart can lift some of the mystery that surrounded the complex web of structures which allowed Cahuzac to move his hidden funds across the globe, from Switzerland to Singapore via the Seychelles, allegedly with the help of a Dubai-based former board member of the Swiss bank Reyl & Co. Mathilde Mathieu, Fabrice Arfi and Dan Israel report.
Patricia Cahuzac, wife of former minister Jérôme Cahuzac, who earlier this year confessed to having an undeclared Swiss bank account, has been placed under formal investigation for alleged tax fraud and laundering the proceeds of tax fraud. The move is part of the wider investigation into her husband's hidden account. Michel Deléan reports.
The French parliament’s commission of enquiry into the government’s handling of the Jérôme Cahuzac affair – the budget minister who held a secret foreign bank account - was close to implosion Thursday after its sitting conservative MPs decided to suspend their participation. They are furious that socialist commission members blocked a move to summon Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault to testify before it over a contested meeting in January between Cahuzac, Ayrault, President François Hollande and finance minister Pierre Moscovici. Lénaïg Bredoux and Stéphane Alliès report on the contradictory accounts that discredit the government’s claims of transparency over the affair.
The French parliament’s commission of enquiry into the government’s handling of the tax evasion scandal surrounding former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac on Tuesday questioned three senior ministers about their role in the affair. Statements by the commission’s chairman, Charles de Courson, indicate that he, like many of his commission’s members, suspects an early attempt by the government to cover up the scandal. Mathieu Magnaudeix and Stéphane Alliès report on the much-awaited questioning on Tuesday of the justice, interior and finance ministers (pictured).
The right-wing UMP has won the country's most recent parliamentary by-election. But the party who have most to celebrate are the far-right Front national whose candidate came close to winning a seat that was once a socialist stronghold, picking up a massive 7,000 votes between the first and second rounds of voting. The FN's strong showing has now cast doubt over the Socialist Party's policy of supporting more moderate right-wing candidates when they are in head-to-head electoral contests with far-right politicians, forming what is known as a 'republican front'. Mathieu Magnaudeix, Marine Turchi and Stéphane Alliès report on the fallout from a high-profile campaign and on the future of such election pacts in the future.
by Mathieu Magnaudeix, Marine Turchi and Stéphane Alliès
Disgraced former French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac (pictured), who in April confessed to holding a secret foreign bank account while leading a crackdown on tax dodgers, sat on evidence implicating the HSBC bank’s French unit in organizing tax evasion which was handed to him when he was president of the parliamentary finance commission, Mediapart can reveal. The bank is now at the centre of a French judicial investigation, launched in April, into suspected “laundering of the proceeds of tax fraud” and the “illegal prospection” of clients. Cahuzac, who as president of the parliamentary finance commission had the power to launch an independent investigation into the bank’s activities in France, received the information in August 2010, when his brother, Antoine Cahuzac, was a senior director of HSBC’s French arm. Fabrice Arfi and Valentine Oberti report.