Following a demand that all French ministers disclose their assets by April 15, French President François Hollande said Wednesday that banks will now be required to publish an annual list of subsidiaries in a bid to crack down on tax havens.
Following a demand that all French ministers publicly disclose their personal assets by April 15, French President François Hollande said Wednesday that banks will be required to publish a list of all foreign subsidiaries annually.
Seeking to restore public trust after the his ex-budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac was forced to admit he was dodging taxes by keeping assets in foreign accounts, Hollande said he would step up the fight against tax havens.
“French banks will have to publish every year the full list of their subsidiaries in the world, country by country. And they will indicate what they are doing,” Hollande told a news conference.
"Tax havens must be eradicated in Europe and the world," he said.
Hollande also said that he "would not hesitate" to consider as a tax haven any country that refuses to cooperate with the new requirements.
In a move to increase transparency, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said this week that ministers would be obliged to disclose their assets as of April 15 – something that until now only the president is obliged to do.
It may be a painful requirement in France, where talking about money is strictly taboo.
"In the European Union, there are only two countries where asset declarations for elected officials are not public: Slovenia and France. This speaks volumes about the backwardness of our political customs," said Daniel Lebegue, the head of the French branch of anti-corruption group Transparency International.
French lawmakers have been required since 1988 to submit financial transparency declarations within two months of being elected, but many ignored the requirement and penalties for failing to do so were never applied.
Politicians on both the left and right have criticised the measures, with the head of the main opposition right-wing UMP, Jean-Francois Copé, saying they amount to "voyeurism".
(France 24 with wires)
Date created : 2013-04-10