French branch of Swiss bank faces allegations it helped try to persuade rich French clients to open undeclared accounts in Switzerland.
UBS France CEO has been questioned by judges who are deciding whether to formally place the bank under formal investigation, reports say.
The still-unfolding scandal surrounding the secret foreign account of former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac, first revealed by Mediapart last December, has rocked the French political establishment to its core. But it may not be the last such explosive revelation. For the private Geneva-based financial institution that Cahuzac used to manage his funds hidden abroad, Reyl & Cie, is alleged by several sources contacted by Mediapart to have provided its discreet services to other French personalities - including senior political figures. Dan Israel pieces together a secret and complex financial puzzle, with the help of insiders from the world of finance and banking in Geneva and Paris.
In a brief pre-recorded television appearance President François Hollande sought to regain the political initiative after the damaging and hugely embarrassing admission by his former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac that he did have a secret Swiss bank account. However, two of the three policy proposals unveiled by the president to prevent further scandals had already been announced and the third may face constitutional obstacles. Meanwhile the opposition says the president failed to answer key questions about his own role in the Cahuzac affair, as pressure also mounted on another key government figure, finance minister Pierre Moscovici.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzachas announced he is to sue Mediapart over its report that he held a secret Swiss bank account until 2010.
French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac (pictured), who last month announced his ministry was launching a crackdown on tax fraud, held for several years a secret bank account in Switzerland, Mediapart can reveal. The funds held in the UBS account were, after it was closed in 2010, allegedly then transferred to Singapore. In an interview with Mediapart, Cahuzac has denied ever holding an account in Switzerland, while threatening legal action if the suggestion that he had was published, which Mediapart does indeed do here. Fabrice Arfi reports.
France's biggest listed bank, BNP Paribas, and largest in Europe, is set to be placed under formal investigation – one step short of charges being brought - in connection with suspected fraudulent handling of clients' investments in funds that channelled money to US fraudster Bernard Madoff, judicial sources have told Mediapart. A ruling by the Paris appeal court's investigatory chamber found that "Bernard Madoff's own responsibility does not rule out the possibility of fraudulent behaviour by intermediaries such as the BNP." The court cited documents from the US liquidator of the Madoff group, concluding that “it now seems that the bank received millions of dollars in exchange for services that were never provided and while it was in possession of information […] which should have prompted it to investigate BLMIS [Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities]". The ruling has relaunched an investigation that now threatens the bank with major legal consequences. Laurent Mauduit reports.