How it all began, and how it all ended: Mediapart's first report revealing how French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac, while leading a crackdown on tax fraud, had for many years held a secret bank account in Switzerland which was then transferred to Singapore, was published on December 4th 2012. After months of denials and lies before Parliament and the press, Cahuzac finally confessed to holding a foreign bank account on April 2nd, vindicating Mediapart's series of investigative reports, which are presented here.
Former French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac has made a startling confession that he did indeed have an undisclosed foreign bank account, as originally revealed by Mediapart four months ago. Cahuzac, who resigned last month after a judicial investigation was launched into the affair, used his own blog to admit that he has held a foreign bank account “for some 20 years” and that it latterly contained 600,000 euros. In his statement, Cahuzac, who had earlier confessed to the two judges leading the investigation into what was until today suspicions that he had a secret foreign account, said he had been trapped in a 'spiral of lies' and begged the French public to forgive him. The former minister was immediately placed under investigation on Tuesday, a legal status that precedes charges, for "laundering the proceeds of tax fraud" and for "laundering funds originating from advantages provided by a company whose services or products are reimbursed by the Social Security [welfare system]”.
The resignation of budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac after a full judicial investigation was launched over his Swiss bank account sent shock waves through the ruling Socialist Party. Many MPs refuse to believe that their colleague has lied over the affair. Others want to turn the page as quickly as possible and put the matter behind them. But as Mathieu Magnaudeix, Stéphane Alliès and Lénaïg Bredoux report, one thing that is certain is that the resignation has not improved the mood in the ruling party, where one MP likened the current situation to a football match in which his side is being hammered...
by Mathieu Magnaudeix, Stéphane Alliès and Lénaïg Bredoux
French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac (pictured) has resigned after it was announced on Tuesday that a full-blown independent judicial investigation has been opened into evidence he held an undisclosed bank account in Switzerland. The events follow the authentication by forensic police of a tape, first revealed by Mediapart, on which he is heard discussing the account, which he has hitherto denied holding. Announcing the opening of a judicial investigation, the Paris public prosecutor's office said an examining magistrate will now seek the cooperation of the authorities in Switzerland and in Singapore, to where funds from the account were allegedly transferred. It also revealed the investigation will pursue claims that money paid into Cahuzac's account came from pharmaceutical companies.
The position of Budget Minister Jérôme Cahuzac in President Hollande's government looks increasingly under pressure after a preliminary formal investigation has revealed that a key element in the allegations surrounding his undisclosed Swiss bank account has been authenticated. Technicians and witnesses have confirmed that a tape recording in which Cahuzac is heard discussing his bank account at UBS in Geneva is genuine, and that the voice indeed belongs to the socialist politician. Cahuzac has always denied having the account. Investigators now believe the affair should be handed over to an independent examining magistrate. Fabrice Arfi reports.
French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac is being investigated by the tax authorities over suspected irregularities in his tax statements, notably undeclared and under-declared assets, Mediapart can reveal with the publication here of a confidential document listing their queries. The tax inspectors’ enquiry is being led in parallel to a separate preliminary judicial investigation, launched last month, into Cahuzac's suspected 'laundering of the proceeds of tax fraud' relating to evidence that he held a secret Swiss bank account before entering government. Fabrice Arfi reports.
A month after the publication of revelations that budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac held an undisclosed Swiss bank account until 2010, a formal investigation has been opened into the affair, Mediapart can reveal. The prosecution authorities have started a preliminary inquiry into the alleged 'laundering of the proceeds of tax fraud'. The investigation is being carried out by detectives from the national financial and tax investigation unit the Division nationale d’investigations financières et fiscales. Fabrice Arfi and Michel Deléan report.
The French government’s proposed top 75% income tax rate, applicable to individuals annually earning more than 1 million euros, was struck down by the country’s Constitutional Council last weekend after it ruled that it breached a fundamental principle of equality for taxpayers. This was the application of income tax per individual instead of the usual method of per household. How could the government, now accused of amateurism, and especially the budget and finance ministries, have ignored a technicality to which they had been previously alerted by the parliamentary finance commission? While President François Hollande has promised to redraft the terms of the tax, there is every indication that, if it is revived, it will return severely watered-down. Mediapart business and finance specialist Martine Orange analyses a fiasco that begs the question of whether the tax was scuppered from the inside.
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.
Jérôme Cahuzac, the budget minister accused of having an undisclosed Swiss bank account until 2010, has withheld the truth surrounding the affair from the highest offices of state, Mediapart can reveal. Mediapart can disclose that the person who possesses the key recording on which Cahuzac (pictured) is heard discussing his bank account has himself approached the office of French President François Hollande to confirm it is genuine. Meanwhile email correspondence between the minister and friends shows that he himself does not deny the authenticity of the recording. And Mediapart can also reveal that the tax authorities have started to carry out thorough checks of the budget minister’s recent tax declarations, which appear to show numerous discrepancies. All of which, says Fabrice Arfi, is proof that Jérôme Cahuzac is in an untenable political situation.
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.
For more than ten days budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac has either refused to comment or set up a media smokescreen over key elements of Mediapart's claim that he had a secret Swiss bank account until February 2010. So far the government has backed the minister, who has denied ever having such an account. Here Mediapart's editor François Bonnet details the five crucial points over which the minister still needs to respond, including the recorded conversation in which Cahuzac is clearly heard discussing the UBS bank account in Geneva.
Jérôme Cahuzac, the budget minister accused of having a secret Swiss bank account until 2010, has amassed considerable wealth from his work as a hair transplant surgeon and consultant. Mediapart can reveal the name of the man who handles the minister's personal wealth, the ultra-discreet Hervé Dreyfus (see photo, right). Mediapart can also disclose it was Dreyfus to whom Cahuzac was talking during his now infamous telephone conversation when he was accidentally recorded talking about the Swiss account – whose existence he still continues to deny. Fabrice Arfi, Dan Israel, Mathilde Mathieu and Martine Orange investigate the financial background and contacts of France's under-fire budget minister.
by Fabrice Arfi, Dan Israel, Mathilde Mathieu and Martine Orange
Following French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac’s vehement denials of Mediapart’s revelations that he held a secret bank account in Switzerland over a number of years until 2010, Mediapart publishes here a sound recording of a conversation in which Cahuzac (pictured) explicitly refers to the account, held with a branch of Swiss banking giant UBS in Geneva. Cahuzac, who last month announced a crackdown by his ministry on tax fraud, can be heard saying: “What bothers me is that I still have an account open with UBS", before adding, with irony: "UBS is not necessarily the most hidden of banks.” Fabrice Arfi reports.
by Fabrice Arfi
Directeur de la publication : Edwy Plenel
Direction éditoriale : Stéphane Alliès et Carine Fouteau
Le journal MEDIAPART est édité par la Société Editrice de Mediapart (SAS).
Durée de la société : quatre-vingt-dix-neuf ans à compter du 24 octobre 2007.
Actionnaires directs et indirects : Société pour l’Indépendance de Mediapart, Fonds pour une Presse Libre, Association pour le droit de savoir
Rédaction et administration : 127 avenue Ledru-Rollin, 75011 Paris
Courriel : email@example.com
Téléphone : + 33 (0) 1 44 68 99 08
Propriétaire, éditeur, imprimeur : Société Editrice de Mediapart
Abonnement : pour toute information, question ou conseil, le service abonnés de Mediapart peut être contacté par courriel à l’adresse : firstname.lastname@example.org ou par courrier à l'adresse : Service abonnés Mediapart, 11 place Charles de Gaulle 86000 Poitiers. Vous pouvez également adresser vos courriers à Société Editrice de Mediapart, 127 avenue Ledru-Rollin, 75011 Paris.