Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

FASHION

Jean-Marc Loubier, bags and shoes.

Read more

ENCORE!

Hip-hop musician Beat Assailant on mixing the sounds of the city

Read more

  • French journalists abducted in Syria freed

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • South Korea ferry captain defends decision to delay evacuation

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • Scores killed in South Sudan cattle raid

    Read more

  • VIDEO: Anti-Semitic leaflets in Eastern Ukraine condemned

    Read more

  • In pictures: Good Friday celebrated across the globe

    Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Ukraine: ‘One bloody incident could scupper Geneva deal’

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • Indian election: Votes for sale

    Read more

  • World honours Garcia Marquez’s magical literary legacy

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • Algeria's ailing Bouteflika clinches fourth term amid fraud claims

    Read more

  • Top Hollande adviser resigns over conflict of interest accusation

    Read more

  • West African Ebola outbreak caused by new strain of virus

    Read more

  • Stagehand of God? Maradona's legendary goal inspires a play

    Read more

France

Did ex-budget minister’s wife precipitate his downfall?

©

Text by Marc DAOU

Latest update : 2013-04-05

It has emerged that the estranged wife of France’s disgraced ex-budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac could have inadvertently and indirectly played a role in the discovery of his secret foreign bank account and his ultimate indictment for tax evasion.

On Tuesday, former French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac admitted that he had concealed part of his income in a Swiss bank account for more than two decades. After four months of strenuously denying the account’s existence, he confessed that he had transferred €600,000 from the Swiss account to one in Singapore.

It looks as though the tax evasion allegations could flow from his wife and former medical partner, Patricia Cahuzac. The couple married in 1980 and had three children before beginning acrimonious divorce proceedings in December 2012.

Since 1996, the pair ran a lucrative medical practice just off the Champs Elysées. Cahuzac, a cardiologist-turned-cosmetic surgeon, and his wife, a dermatologist, offered micro hair-transplant surgery to French politicians, athletes and celebrities.

Cahuzac and his wife purchased a 200-square metre apartment in one of Paris’s elite seventh arrondissement in 1994, which—according to French media, is complicating the divorce. After setting up a business in the pharmaceutical industry, he transitioned into French politics in 1997.

In November 2011 Patricia Cahuzac allegedly hired private detectives to investigate her husband’s finances, according to reports from Paris Match and French weekly Journal du Dimanche. But in an interview with French daily Sud Ouest, she denied meddling in her husband’s affairs.

Nevertheless, several French media sources report that Madame Cahuzac told her private detective about a Swiss bank account owned by her husband, but claimed she did not know the account number.

French investigative website Mediapart first uncovered Cahuzac’s clandestine finances in December and later posted a muffled recording of a phone message in which a politician – allegedly Cahuzac –mentions an undeclared UBS account in Switzerland.

That fateful conversation was recorded at the end of 2000 just before Cahuzac ran successfully for the mayor’s post in the southwestern city of Villeneuve-sur-Lot.

Pandora's Box

While it remains to be seen who is responsible for leaking the recording to Mediapart, there’s no question this could have fatal consequences for French President François Hollande, who was elected on the promise of delivering tax reform. Still, if Patricia Cahuzac did indeed put private detectives on the trail of her husband's overseas account, she may have opened Pandora's box, unintentionally or not—and contributed to her husband’s ultimate downfall.

Madame Cahuzac has never denied the bank account’s existence. When asked about her husband’s Swiss account, she replied, "Ask him." According to Le Monde, Patricia Cahuzac is none other than the cousin of the wife of Jean-Pierre Eymié. Eymié was a lawyer associated with Philippe Péninque—the very lawyer who admitted Wednesday to having opened Jérôme Cahuzac’s Swiss bank account in 1992. Both men were members of an extreme-right student organisation and “close friends” with the Socialist politician. Could Patricia Cahuzac have ignored this information?

The ex-budget minister himself seems to think that his wife played no role in the affair that has shaken up the government. "Patricia hasn’t been very sweet during our divorce proceedings, but she has always been loyal and fair," Cahuzac’s lawyer told Paris Match.

A friend of the couple told the Nouvel Observateur on March 22: "Jérôme refuses to imagine that the mother of his three children could be involved in this."

Date created : 2013-04-05

  • FRANCE

    The surgeon-turned-minister who fooled France

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French budget minister Cahuzac quits amid Swiss bank account probe

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)