Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Hiroshima's Healing Hug

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Uganda Terror Trial: Five jailed for life for 2010 Al-Shabaab World Cup Bombings

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Obama in Hiroshima and Austria's close call (part 1)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

French labour strikes, raids on Google and McDonald's (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

Ukraine: Searching for missing people in Donbass

Read more

REVISITED

Video: What remains of the Gezi movement in Turkey?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Euro 2016: France readies for kick off

Read more

ENCORE!

Anne A-R : The people beyond the numbers: A photographic manifesto from the migrant trail

Read more

ENCORE!

Video: Ken Loach wins his second Palme d'Or in Cannes

Read more

France

French foreign minister denies tax-evasion ‘rumour’

© AFP

Text by Joseph BAMAT

Latest update : 2013-04-08

A leading French daily has reported that Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is being investigated by the media for allegedly holding a secret Swiss bank account. Fabius vehemently denies the allegations.

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius denied on Sunday a rumour that he may have a secret bank account in Switzerland. The allegation comes less than a week after former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac admitted he lied about holding a secret Swiss bank account, in a tax-evasion scandal that has rocked the Socialist government of President François Hollande.

There is no “substance or foundation” to the news report, Fabius said in a statement to the press, adding he would take legal action to “stop the diffusion of this false and slanderous information”.

On Monday, left-leaning daily Libération reported that the investigative news website Médiapart – which broke the Cahuzac affair – was looking into whether Fabius was also stashing away euros in “one or several” bank accounts across the border. It stated that Hollande’s cabinet is in a state of panic ahead of potentially devastating new revelations.

“More than an affair, it’s a potential political bomb. Everyone thinks the same thing: if Fabius really does have a Swiss bank account, the entire government would fall. Immediately,” the newspaper wrote in its Monday edition that headlined, “The nightmare continues”.

However, Libération did not publish any information or document proving that one of France’s top government minister’s had an illegal bank account.

Left reeling from the Cahuzac affair, France's government attempted to take back the initiative Sunday by stating that it was looking into tightening Europe-wide measures against tax evasion.

Médiapart hits back

Médiapart chastised the newspaper Libération for publishing the allegations. Contacted by Libération, Médiapart staff journalist Fabrice Arfi said the only news it stood by was “what is published on our site”.

In a more challenging tone, Médiapart president Edwy Plenel took issue with the daily’s reporting. “Libération has lost its mind: It is transforming a rumour into news by taking credit for information Médiapart has not published,” he tweeted on Sunday.

Médiapart has won major kudos in France for exposing the Cahuzac scandal. The former minister had initially vehemently denied the site’s tax-dodging allegation after they first brought the allegations to light in December. Oddly, Cahuzac at one point mused with journalists that the affair would either destroy him or the news group.

Over the weekend Swiss media reported that Cahuzac tried to hide 15 million euros in the country, much more than the 600,000 euros that Médiapart originally reported. They also claimed Cahuzac provided false documents to a Swiss bank.

The former budget minister could face a five-year jail term and a 375,000-euro fine for money laundering and tax-evasion.

Date created : 2013-04-08

  • FRANCE

    French press indignant over ex-budget chief's lies

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French ex-minister admits lying about Swiss account

    Read more

COMMENT(S)