In a bid to offset outrage over reports that France's disgraced budget minister hid money in a Swiss bank account, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Monday that government ministers will be required to declare their assets publicly by next week.
France’s Socialist government promised on Monday to publish details of individual ministers’ assets next week as it scrambled to stem a deepening scandal over a former budget minister’s secret foreign bank account.
Jerome Cahuzac quit his post in March and was placed under formal investigation for alleged tax fraud last week as he acknowledged he had been caught “in a spiral of lies” over his previous denials of holding a Swiss bank account.
The affair risks upsetting President Francois Hollande’s economic reform effort, with even left-wing allies criticising his handling of the scandal. Hollande’s opinion poll ratings are already at record lows for his failure to tackle unemployment.
“To begin with, wealth declarations of all the members of government will be made public by April 15,” a statement issued by Hollande’s Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said.
The statement said the move - which echoes requirements in the United States and elsewhere for public officials to make asset declarations - would be followed by a law setting out moral standards in public life in coming months, it said.
Swiss RTS TV reported on Sunday, citing banking sources, that Cahuzac sought to transfer 15 million euros ($20 million) from one Swiss account to another - far more than the 600,000 euros he said last week he had in an undeclared foreign account.
Reached on Monday, Cahuzac’s lawyer declined to comment.
Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici - the senior minister to whom Cahuzac reported in government - has rejected criticism from the French right that he was too ready to believe Cahuzac’s denials and did not adequately investigate the matter.
Weekend surveys found 60 percent of the public want Hollande to reshuffle his team and three-quarters view most politicians and elected officials as corrupt.
Hollande has a slim parliamentary majority without the backing of far-leftists and Greens, so could still scrape through an upcoming law to loosen hiring and firing rules, and a 2014 pension overhaul, without their blessing.
But noisy protests could limit what he can do, especially as his approval ratings have slumped to as low as 22 percent.
- France's 'great women' celebrated as two heroines of French Resistance admitted to Pantheon
- Haitian-Canadian writer to join guardians of French language
- France's Panthéon honours 'Four Lives in Résistance'
- Expelled leader of May 1968 uprising granted French citizenship
- From best paunch to wackiest title: Cannes’ other awards
- As ‘Macbeth’ divides, Cannes ponders wide-open Palme d’Or race
- Uber under threat as French court backs limits on unlicensed taxis
- French law to force supermarkets to donate unsold food
- The Mont Saint-Michel, between sea and stone
- 'Bin Laden's secret porn stash'
- Mother of French terror victim seeks to open minds
- Paris to host international talks in June on tackling IS group
- French ministers disclose personal wealth for first time
- French far-left leader reveals assets, weight, shoe size
Date created : 2013-04-08