SHARE
COPY LINK

CORRUPTION

Congo ruler resists probe into luxury French homes

Congolese leader Denis Sassou Nguesso said this week that France's justice system had no right to probe his alleged ill-gotten gains, following a meeting with French counterpart Francois Hollande.

Congo ruler resists probe into luxury French homes
Congo's president Denis Sassou Nguesso makes a statement after a meeting with France's president in Paris on April 9, 2013. Photo: AFP / Bertrand Langlois

"What we would like to recall is the principle to which we all subscribe on the international level, which is non-interference in internal affairs," Republic of Congo President Sassou Nguesso told journalists on a trip to France.

Two Parisian prosecutors have been investigating the conditions under which numerous luxury assets were acquired in France by Sassou Nguesso, as well as Gabon's late president Omar Bongo and Equatorial Guinea leader Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

These are believed to include French Riviera and Parisian residences and fleets of cars.

The probe was triggered by a suit filed in 2008 by non-governmental organisations Sherpa and Transparency International France, calling for an investigation in the matter.

Sassou Nguesso said on Monday that the principle of non-interference should be "respected so that French justice does not feel it has the right to deal with matters that relate to the internal affairs of other states".

Asked by a journalist whether he had lost any sleep over the affair, the leader of the oil-rich central African country — who held more than an hour of talks with Hollande — replied, "Certainly not!"

The lawyer for Transparency International, meanwhile, blasted Sassou Nguesso for embodying "a caricature of kleptocracy, of a rich head of state that leads a poor country."

"It's not about non-interference but about putting into practice French and international law," William Bourdon said.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

PROPERTY

Property taxes: How much will it cost to extend your French home?

Installing a swimming pool, building a garden shed, or adding a conservatory to your French home has become more expensive in 2023.

Property taxes: How much will it cost to extend your French home?

If you are planning a renovation project in 2023 you’re likely looking at rising cost for materials and labour due to inflation – but there is one other cost to consider; taxes. 

In France there is a one-off tax that has to be paid on certain building works, and the government has raised the rate for this.

The taxe d’aménagement, sometimes referred to as the garden shed tax, applies to all property development – construction, reconstruction and extension – of buildings that require planning permission or a building permit.

Garden sheds, swimming pools or extensions with a surface area of more than 5 square metres are subject to the development tax – although a 50 percent reduction is applied to the flat-rate values of certain buildings, particularly the first 100 square metres of main residences.

READ ALSO Everything you need to know about installing a swimming pool at your French property

The tax is collected by local councils, who set their own percentage rates for the tax, working off the base rate set by the government.

A decree published in the Journal Officiel set the base figures for 2023 at the following rates: 

  • €1,004 per square metre in Île-de-France (up from €929 per square metre in 2022);
  • €886 per square metre outside Île-de-France (€820 per square metre in 2022).

The flat-rate values per square metre of building space, which constitute the basis for the development tax, are revised on January 1st of each year according to the latest construction cost index published by national statistics body Insee. 

Additionally, specific rates are set for:

  • €250 per square metre  for a swimming pool (up from €200 in 2022);
  • €12 per square metre of ground-fixed solar panels (up from €10 in 2022);
  • €3,000 per wind turbine more than 12 metres high;
  • €3,000 per pitch for tents, caravans and mobile leisure homes;
  • €10,000 per pitch for a holiday chalet or bungalow.

The amount of the tax is calculated according to the following formula: 

(Taxable area multiplied by the government-set base figure) multiplied by the percentage tax rate set by the local authorities. This gives the total to be paid in cents. Bills are rounded down.

So, the tax for a 30 square metre extension in an area where the combined local and departmental tax rates total 6.25 percent would be calculated like this:

30 (the size of the development) x 886 (the base tax rate outside Ile-de-France) = 26,580

6.25 (local and departmental tax) x 26,580 = 166,125 cents, more usually expressed as €1,661. 

If the total payable is less than €1,500, you will receive a bill in the six months after planning permission was granted, with details of how to pay.

Otherwise, it is paid in two instalments, 12 months and 24 months after authorisation, with a 10 percent surcharge applied in cases of late payments.

READ ALSO The hidden costs of owning property in France

SHOW COMMENTS