• France edition
 
French budget minister resigns amid tax probe
Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac. Photo:Patrick Kovarik/AFP

French budget minister resigns amid tax probe

Published: 19 Mar 2013 18:37 GMT+01:00
Updated: 20 Mar 2013 10:17 GMT+01:00

French Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac has resigned after prosecutors announced a probe into a Swiss bank account he allegedly used to hide assets from the tax authorities.

The prosecutors' move to deepen a preliminary investigation that had been under way since January made Cahuzac's position untenable on Tuesday as he was the government minister in charge of combating tax evasion.

President Francois Hollande, already languishing in the opinion polls less than a year into his five-year term, announced that Minister for Europe Bernard Cazeneuve would take over Cahuzac's brief as part of an enforced and embarrassing reshuffle of his cabinet.

Thierry Repentin, currently a junior minister with responsibility for professional training, takes over responsibility for France's relations with the rest of the European Union.

Cahuzac's decision to step down came hours after prosecutors announced a full investigation into claims by the Mediapart news website that he had an undeclared account with Swiss bank UBS until 2010.

The prosecutors said they believed Cahuzac was the man heard discussing the alleged account in a taped conversation which the investigative site used to substantiate its report.

Mediapart has reported that Cahuzac held funds in the Swiss account until 2010 and had, in breach of French law, failed to declare the account to the national tax authorities.

According to Mediapart, in the recorded conversation with one of his aides, Cahuzac voices concern about the UBS account coming to light but claims he has "dealt with the matter." Mediapart alleges that the contents of the Swiss account were transferred to Singapore.

In a statement, Cahuzac, 60, said he had resigned to ensure that his case did not interfere with or overshadow the functioning of the government and reiterated that he was "innocent of the slanderous allegations made against me."

Cahuzac has repeatedly insisted that he has never had an offshore account and had denied that his voice figures on the incriminating tape.

As the minister charged with cracking down on tax fraud, Cahuzac was until Tuesday evening a civil plaintiff in a judicial probe into French residents suspected of stashing assets overseas to avoid tax.

The whole issue of tax has been a difficult one for Hollande, who famously declared during his presidential election campaign that "I don't like the rich."

Plans for a 75-percent top rate of income tax and increases in wealth and inheritance taxes have triggered an outcry from business figures and celebrities, most notably Gerard Depardieu.

The celebrated actor has moved his main residence to neighbouring Belgium and accepted a Russian passport after lambasting Hollande's tax policies.

A business group known as 'the pigeons' last year succeeded in forcing the Socialist administration to ditch a proposed hike in capital gains taxes. 

A successful online campaign against the measure claimed it would discourage start-ups and lead to more entrepreneurs quitting the country.

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France bids to cut EU's reliance on Russian gas
A view of the Russian gas giant Gazprom's recently built Adler thermal power plant. France wants to cut Europe's reliance on Russian gas. Photo: Yuri Kabodnov/AFP

France bids to cut EU's reliance on Russian gas

As the Ukraine crisis intensifes and threatens to divide Russia from the West, France and Poland made a joint call for a European-wide energy union that would help reduce dependence on Russian gas supplies. READ () »

Family pretend to be French to rob jewellers
Pretending to be French to rob a jewellers. That's a new one. Photo: Shutterstock

Family pretend to be French to rob jewellers

A family managed to steal €180,000 worth of jewellery from a plush shop in Milan’s Piazza del Duomo. Their modus operandi: pretending to be French to give off an air of sophistication. READ () »

Neo-Nazi Hitler party shocks French village
Scores of neo-Nazis descended on a tranquil French village. The local mayor had no idea what he had let himself in for. Photo: Scott Olsen/AFP

Neo-Nazi Hitler party shocks French village

The mayor of a small village in eastern France was forced to explain this week how he ended up giving the green light for a neo-Nazi party commemorating the 125th anniversiary of Hitler’s birth. The mayor said he presumed it was just going to be an ordinary birthday party. READ () »

One in five French workers is a civil servant
France's population of civil servants has continued to grow. Photo: Crowd.

One in five French workers is a civil servant

New data out this week shows France’s civil service has continued its nearly unbroken chain of growth since 1980. The figures, however, leave out a whole swath of people who are also on the government payroll. READ () »

French taxi wars: New plan to end bitter feud
A new proposal seeks to end the French taxi war. Photo: Patrick Kovarik/AFP

French taxi wars: New plan to end bitter feud

An eagerly awaited series of proposed reforms were due out on Thursday aimed at ending the ongoing war between highly regulated taxi drivers and private hire car firms, which has wrought havoc on French roads. The proposals seek to make the rules fairer for both sides. READ () »

Ukraine crisis
France to send fighter jets to patrol Baltics
France is to send four fighter jets to patrol over the Baltics, in a show of solidarity as tension mounts of Russia's agression i nthe Ukraine. Photo: Karim Sahib/AFP

France to send fighter jets to patrol Baltics

France is sending four of its fighter jets to patrol over the Baltic states in a symbolic show of solidarity amid growing anxiety in the region over Russia's intervention in Ukraine. President François Hollande is also set to pay a visit to Georgia in the coming weeks. READ () »

French minister Royal denies ban on cleavage
Ségolène Royal has reportedly banned women in her ministry from wearing low cut tops at work. Photo: Alain Jocard/AFP

French minister Royal denies ban on cleavage

Ségolène Royal, France’s new minister for the environment has been forced to deny reports on Thursday that she had introduced some strict new rules for her staff, including a ban on women wearing low cut tops at work. READ () »

France and Canada renew feud over islands
St Pierre in the French archipelago of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, off the coast of Canada, which disputes France's claim on the island. Photo: Jean-Christophe L'Espagnol

France and Canada renew feud over islands

A longstanding feud over two French islands near Canada's Atlantic Coast was rekindled this week, when Ottawa contested Paris's request that the UN recognize its control of waters around Saint-Pierre-and-Miquelon READ () »

Marijuana: 'Young adults risk fatal heart problems'
A study by French researchers concluded that young adults who smoke marijuana may increase risk of heart problems. Robyn Beck/AFP

Marijuana: 'Young adults risk fatal heart problems'

Young adults who smoke marijuana may be at risk of serious or even fatal heart problems, according to a study by French researchers published this week. The findings raise new concerns about the safety of marijuana. READ () »

Syrian refugees set up home in Paris park
Syrian refugees children and women sit on April 21, 2014 in the Edouard Vaillant parc in Saint-Ouen, north of Paris. Photo: Joel Saget/AFP

Syrian refugees set up home in Paris park

Around 150 Syria refugees are living a desperate existence in a small park to the north of Paris. NGOs and France's Green party are urging authorities to do more to help the families while they wait for their asylum requests to be processed. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
How to avoid a French wedding nightmare
Opinion
Reader Rants: Why sacked French ministers deserve no pity
Gallery
How well do you know your French text message lingo?
National
Divorced from reality? French plan for puppy custody laws
Travel
'Burgundy is for wine not wind': Will wind farms ruin famous wine region?
National
Why does France have a record number of people behind bars?
Society
VIDEO: Take a look inside Paris’s first luxury hotel for cats
Education
French parents are the most laidback about their kids' education. True?
Tech
What do French TV viewers complain about the most? Yes it's English
Business & Money
French tax declarations: The key points to remember
Gallery
French slang: Everyday words you need to know (but use cautiously)
National
Paris cops told to ‘purge’ Roma from posh neighbourhood
Advertisement:
International
VIDEO: ‘Anti-French’ Cadillac ad sparks anger in France. See why.
Features
Buying property in France? Here's 10 things you need to think about
National
What will the future map of France look like? The answer lies within.
Politics
'The 27 French regions aren't the problem, it's the 36,000 towns'
Culture
Ex underage call girl Zahia picked to embody Marie Antoinette
Gallery
Buying a house in France? Ten things you need to think about
National
France bans work emails after 6pm! Sadly it's not quite true.
Opinion
Reader Rants: Why don't the French do charity? Is it down to taxes?
Society
VIDEO: The Paris zoo is back but this time the animals are in charge
National
This will be the most expensive road in France - Only €1.66bn for 12km!
Society
Only in France? Gourmet pensioners party lands village in hot water
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se