Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Pakistan's Political Turmoil: Can Imran Khan's PTI Party Depose the Government? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan's Political Turmoil: Can Imran Khan's PTI Party Depose the Government?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

#IceBucketChallenge and hashtag activism

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bellwether for what not to do

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'The world’s dictators love the unrest in Ferguson'

Read more

ENCORE!

Montreal Stories

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

More than half of French households will pay no income tax this year

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users taking on the "Ice Bucket Challenge" to fight ALS

Read more

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

  • Ex-PM Juppé announces bid for 2017 French presidential race

    Read more

  • Dozens killed as landslides strike Japan’s Hiroshima

    Read more

  • IS militants ‘behead’ missing US journalist in gruesome video

    Read more

  • Deadly airstrikes hit Gaza as ceasefire with Israel collapses

    Read more

  • Tentative peace in Ferguson despite second fatal shooting

    Read more

  • Suspected Ebola cases in Austria, new drug raises hopes

    Read more

  • WWII anniversary highlights best - and worst - of Paris police

    Read more

  • Headscarf at the beach sparks French MEP’s fury

    Read more

  • Iraqi army clashes with militants in Tikrit after retaking key dam

    Read more

  • Video: Life in under-siege Donetsk

    Read more

  • Racism, riots and police violence: USA under scrutiny

    Read more

  • ‘Let it be’: Londoners sick of Abbey Road tourists

    Read more

  • Australia to free children from immigration detention centres

    Read more

France

Labour Minister eager to speak to corruption investigators

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-07-11

French Labor Minister Eric Woerth says he wants to speak with investigators to clear his name in a corruption probe over the fortune of L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, according to a French newspaper.

AP - France’s labor minister says he wants to speak with investigators soon to clear his name in a snowballing scandal that has destabilized President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government.

The Le Journal du Dimanche Sunday newspaper quoted Labor Minister Eric Woerth as saying he is “at the disposal of police and the justice system.”

An inquiry into the affair “is a good thing, it allows you to tell the truth,” he said.

Woerth faces pointed questions about his links to L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt amid a scandal over her fortune and questions about campaign contributions.

Sarkozy has strongly backed Woerth, who is in charge of his unpopular pension reform program to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62. In doing so, the president has faced dismal approval ratings and has strained to keep his government and conservative party from unraveling.

One facet of the scandal focuses on allegations of tax evasion. Bettencourt’s financial adviser has acknowledged that she kept 78 million euros ($97 million) in two foreign accounts and has promised to get her affairs in order.

Woerth’s wife worked at a firm that helped manage Bettencourt’s fortune but quit when the scandal broke. Woerth himself was budget minister until months ago, leading a high-profile crackdown against tax dodging. The couple have denied any conflict of interest.

How French politicians and parties are funded

The affair took a new twist last week into the issue of political party financing. Woerth, in addition to his governmental duties, has long been the treasurer of Sarkozy’s UMP party.

Bettencourt’s former accountant told an online news outlet and French investigators that the heiress’ financial adviser gave ¤150,000 in cash to Woerth to contribute to Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential campaign.

Both Woerth and Sarkozy have strongly denied the allegation but French prosecutors have opened a preliminary investigation into the party financing claims.

Separately, an intergovernmental financial inspection agency is investigating Bettencourt’s tax history.
 

Date created : 2010-07-11

  • FRANCE

    Embattled Labour Minister Woerth ‘will not resign’

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    L’Oreal tax scandal intensifies for French minister Woerth

    Read more

COMMENT(S)