French tax tsar on trial for fraud

A former French budget minister who was in charge of stamping out tax evasion has gone on trial for tax fraud and money laundering.

Jerome Cahuzac, who was appointed budget minister in 2012 by President Francoise Hollande, is alleged to have held money in a secret Swiss bank account, and to have lied about it in parliament, a BBC report said.

In late 2012, French investigative website Mediapart broke news of Cahuzac’s secret UBS account, which he had allegedly held for two decades until 2010 and which was reported to have contained €600,000.

Initially Cahuzac denied reports, even going so far as to taking libel action against Mediapart. But following a meeting with investigating magistrates, he admitted the account’s existence, saying in his blog that he was “consumed with remorse”, the BBC report said.

He resigned as a minister in March 2013, and was officially expelled from the Socialist Party the following month, after admitting to holding the secret bank account.

Cahuzac faces fines and up to seven years in prison if found guilty, the BBC said.

Cahuzac began his career as a cardiologist, before becoming a hair transplant specialist. According to The Guardian, he “made a fortune” as Paris’s leading hair-transplant expert in the 1990s.

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