Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

#IceBucketChallenge and hashtag activism

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bellwether for what not to do

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan's Political Turmoil: Can Imran Khan's PTI Party Depose the Government? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan's Political Turmoil: Can Imran Khan's PTI Party Depose the Government?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'The world’s dictators love the unrest in Ferguson'

Read more

ENCORE!

Montreal Stories

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

More than half of French households will pay no income tax this year

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users taking on the "Ice Bucket Challenge" to fight ALS

Read more

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

  • Ex-PM Juppé announces bid for 2017 French presidential race

    Read more

  • Dozens killed as landslides strike Japan’s Hiroshima

    Read more

  • IS militants ‘behead’ missing US journalist in gruesome video

    Read more

  • Deadly airstrikes hit Gaza as ceasefire with Israel collapses

    Read more

  • Tentative peace in Ferguson despite second fatal shooting

    Read more

  • Suspected Ebola cases in Austria, new drug raises hopes

    Read more

  • WWII anniversary highlights best - and worst - of Paris police

    Read more

  • Headscarf at the beach sparks French MEP’s fury

    Read more

  • Iraqi army clashes with militants in Tikrit after retaking key dam

    Read more

  • Video: Life in under-siege Donetsk

    Read more

  • Racism, riots and police violence: USA under scrutiny

    Read more

  • ‘Let it be’: Londoners sick of Abbey Road tourists

    Read more

  • Australia to free children from immigration detention centres

    Read more

France

France launches public inquiry into tax fraud scandal

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-05-21

France’s parliament on Tuesday opened a public inquiry into a tax fraud scandal involving ex-budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac, which shook the country’s confidence in its government and called President François Hollande’s leadership into question.

France’s parliament on Tuesday launched a high-profile public inquiry into a major tax fraud scandal which has shaken confidence in the country’s Socialist government and called President François Hollande’s leadership into question.

The special parliamentary commission is expected to examine the government’s role in the scandal, in which former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac repeatedly lied about owning an undeclared Swiss bank account.

Some of the country’s most influential and powerful politicians will be interviewed as part of the investigation, including Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici, Interior Minister Manuel Valls and Justice Minister Christiane Taubira. Cahuzac will also be questioned over the incident.

The inquiry got off to a turbulent start on Tuesday after journalists for the French investigative website Mediapart – which broke news of the scandal in December, 2012 – alleged that police had interfered with the case.

Journalist Fabrice Arfi, who reported the scandal, testified that Cahuzac's chief-of-staff Marie-Helene Valente had somehow become aware of a phone conversation between his boss at Mediapart, Edwy Plenel, and a source for the story.

Arfi said Valente had written an email to a third party on December 11, 2012, in which she mentioned the phone chat.

"The police were used to listen in on telephone conversations between Edwy Plenel and one of the protagonists in the case," Arfi told members of parliament, without saying who the email was sent to or how he obtained it.

"We don't know if the interior minister himself is aware of these investigations," he said.

Plenel, who was also questioned at the commission, denounced "the use of police to harm source confidentiality."

Mediapart revealed on December 4, 2012, that Cahuzac had funds in an undeclared Swiss bank account. But the minister, who fought against tax evasion during his tenure in charge of the budget, consistently denied the allegations.

He finally admitted to having the account containing some 600,000 euros ($770,000) in April after an official probe into the case was opened.

By then, he had already given up his ministerial position, and he subsequently resigned from parliament as well. He was also kicked out of the Socialist Party.

The scandal shook France's Socialist government and damaged the squeaky-clean image that President Francois Hollande had sought to project, less than a year after he was voted into office.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-05-21

  • FRANCE

    Disgraced French minister gives up parliament seat

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French ministers disclose personal wealth for first time

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French far-left leader reveals assets, weight, shoe size

    Read more

COMMENT(S)