Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 01 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Coverage of Gaza in the Israeli media

Read more

REPORTERS

1914-1918: The Depths of Hell

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 01 August 2014

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

Read more

#THE 51%

World War One: The war that changed women’s lives

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Ségolène Royal goes for green

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

A look back at some of the Observers' best stories

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults: Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

  • Hamas denies capturing Israeli soldier as Gaza truce lies in tatters

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

    Read more

  • Police 'chokehold' caused NYC death, coroner rules

    Read more

  • French most keen to erase their online footprint, says Google

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Rogue general denies Islamist seizure of Benghazi

    Read more

  • Ugandan court strikes down anti-gay legislation

    Read more

  • 1914-1918: The Depths of Hell

    Read more

  • Regional summit to tackle deadly Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • French hospital to open wine bar for terminally ill patients

    Read more

  • Video: Tipping is dying out in French café culture

    Read more

  • €2.5 million in cocaine ‘disappears’ from Paris police HQ

    Read more

  • Appeal court keeps French rogue trader Kerviel in jail

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • Ukrainian army suffers losses in separatist attack

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

France

French press indignant over ex-budget chief's lies

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-04-03

A day after France’s former budget minister and tax tsar Jérôme Cahuzac admitted to having a secret offshore bank account, French dailies on Wednesday were reeling from a moral affront that has upset the political left as much as the right.

France woke up Wednesday to the image of the country’s former budget minister and tax tsar Jérôme Cahuzac looking haggard and defeated on the front pages of the leading dailies following his admission that he had repeatedly lied about a secret Swiss bank account.

“Indigne” (Unworthy), screamed the banner headline of the left-wing Libération, with a sub-head: “After months of lies, Jérôme Cahuzac admitted yesterday to keeping a foreign bank account and is being formally investigated. The making of a political crisis.”

FRANCE 24 Media Watch

In a shocking public confession on Tuesday, Cahuzac admitted that he hid 600,000 euros in a UBS account in Switzerland for more than two decades. The admission by the 60-year-old former MP, cardiologist and plastic surgeon followed months of him denying tax-evasion reports, which emerged late last year on the French investigative site, Mediapart.

In a country where even the most cherished celebrities - such as Gerard Depardieu - are lambasted for trying to evade a 75 percent “supertax” on the rich, Cahuzac’s admission has jolted the nation and plunged French President François Hollande’s government into crisis.

“It’s a shame,” said the Libération op-ed. “With his cover-ups and lies, Jérôme Cahuzac did more than just tarnish his reputation. He has cast opprobrium on his actions, discredited the political discourse and raised doubts about the authority of the head of state”.

What happened to ‘la Republique Exemplaire?’

When he ran against Nicholas Sarkozy last year, Hollande promised a “Republique Exemplaire” (an exemplary republic) and a very different style of government from the “bling” and vulgar consumerism of Sarkozy-era politicians who were viewed as too close to France’s fat cats.

If France’s deeply disappointed left led the chorus of censure against one of their own on Wednesday, the right-wing press was singing in-tune – but the melody was snarkier.

“A minister of the republic lied. He is a Socialist. And he lied about money. Can you imagine anything worse?” asked columnist Paul-Henri du Limbert in right-wing Le Figaro, before noting, “At a time when France is sinking daily into a deeper crisis, nothing is worse than the atmosphere of suspicion that the Cahuzac case will inevitably cause."

France’s economic situation is alarming. With unemployment hovering about 10 percent, credit rating downgrades, and a moribund manufacturing sector, Hollande’s biggest challenge is a budget deficit that has stood stubbornly above the 3 percent EU limit.

‘Only Lance Armstrong comes close’

But more than the economic and political fallout from the latest scandal, the Cahuzac affair has been viewed as a moral affront across the ideological divide. “In the realm of big lies before the microphones and cameras, only Lance Armstrong comes close to Jérôme Cahuzac,” said La Voix du Nord, referring to the US cyclist whose serial denials of doping allegations gripped this Tour de France-mad nation for years.

In a scathing op-ed in La Charente Libre, columnist Dominique Garraud noted, "For months... the former budget minister multiplied his lies with a consistency that was matched only by his arrogance against his accusers.”

It’s a sentiment shared by Jacques Camus in La Montagne, who says Cahuzac has "strayed into a spiral of lies, bolstered by a false sense of impunity”.

Months after it broke the story that Cahuzac had siphoned funds into a Swiss account, the investigative website Mediapart had already moved on, questioning just how much Hollande knew about his then-budget minister’s unholy tax-evasion measures. With the scandal poised to take on a new twist, the Cahuzac story is not about to die soon in France.

 

Date created : 2013-04-03

  • FRANCE

    Hollande loses key ally as budget minister resigns

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French ex-minister admits lying about Swiss account

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French budget minister probed over Swiss account

    Read more

COMMENT(S)