Minister’s son in trouble over $3.5m Vegas debt

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius might have an awkward call to make to his American counterpart after his son landed in hot water after racking up $3.5million of gambling debt in Las Vegas, before writing dodgy checks to cover the losses.

Minister's son in trouble over $3.5m Vegas debt
Photo: Brenn Moyan/AFP

The son of the French foreign minister is the subject of an arrest warrant for writing bad cheques at a Las Vegas casino the night before his father assumed his position.

Thomas Fabius wrote bad checks totaling more than $3.5 million to cover gambling debts the night of May 15, 2012, according to the arrest warrant, obtained Thursday by AFP.

According to reports the 33-year-old spent a crazy night in Vegas the night of May 15th 2012, the day before his father Laurent Fabius, was officially appointed France's foreign minister.

It is not clear whether he might have been celebrating the imminent news or making sure he provided he father wit ha stern test of his diplomatic skills.

During his debauched night Fabius junior paid for gambling tokens at various casinos around town using his cheque book from various banks, of which Société Géneral was one.

In total nine checks of between $100,000 a million dollars were written out over the course of the night at Casinos including the Palazzo. The problem was Fabius didn't have the funds to back them up. 

As a result of the warrant, issued May 2013, the younger Fabius risks arrest if he sets foot in the United States, a spokesman for Nevada's Clark County told AFP.

Fabius, 33, who heads a financial consulting firm, has been reported to have spent millions of dollars in casinos in the past and was investigated in 2013 for fraud and money laundering over a shady real estate deal.

(Laurent Fabius might have to enter into negotiations with John Kerry over his son's debt. AFP)

Fabius is not the first French politician to feel perhaps a little embarrassed by their offspring.

Current French health minister Marisol Touraine had the ignominy of seeing her son imprisoned in 2013 for extortion.

And earlier this year The Local reported how former PM Dominique de Villepin could have been forgiven for feeling a little red faced after his daughter posed topless for a French lad's magazine.



French president François Hollande had to deal with a very public outburst by his son against his ex-partner Valerie Trierweiler as well as his youngest son who made a series about drugs and prostitutes.

Nicolas Sarkozy also came underfire when it emerged his 23-year-son was seeking to become head of La Défense – the financial district on the edge of Paris.


Perhaps the French politician most embarrassed by their child was François Mitterrand, who kept his illegitimate daughter a secret for years.

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IMF urges France to step up spending reforms to rein in debt

The International Monetary Fund on Monday warned France that its public debt is "too high for comfort", calling on the nation to tackle the issue by stepping up spending reforms.

IMF urges France to step up spending reforms to rein in debt
'Yellow vests' protest in front of the stock exchange in Paris in opposition to Macron's policies. Photo: AFP
In a report outlining preliminary findings of its 2019 mission, the IMF said tax and labour market reforms had helped keep the economy resilient despite slowing growth.
But it urged the government of President Emmanuel Macron to find further ways to curb spending and to ensure the measures have public support, in a nation rocked by weekly anti-government “yellow vest” protests. 
“France's public debt is too high for comfort,” said the IMF mission's concluding statement.
“While there is no immediate risk, as the currently low interest rates suggest that higher debt can be sustained at this juncture, the elevated debt level provides little comfort from a medium and long-term perspective.”
French public debt rises above €2,000,000,000,000 Photo: AFP
The IMF noted that public debt has risen from around 20 percent of gross domestic product in the 1980s to close to 100 percent. 
“Additional spending reforms are needed to ensure that the ongoing tax-burden reduction can be sustained and public debt placed on a firm downward path,” the statement said. 
The IMF maintained its growth forecast for France at 1.3 percent this year, predicting it would “stabilise at around 1.5 percent in the medium term, predicated on a recovery of domestic and external demand and on gains from recent reforms”.
It added that while the current outlook is positive, “risks have risen”, citing global trade tensions, the uncertainty over Britain's exit from the European Union and “in France, erosion of support for necessary economic reforms among the general public”.
On coming to power in 2017, Macron immediately set about trimming the deficit to bring it in line with an EU limit of three percent of GDP, which the eurozone's second-biggest economy had persistently flouted for a decade.
In March the national statistics agency Insee said France's budget deficit fell to a 12-year low of 2.5 percent of GDP in 2018, a greater-than-expected decline achieved despite falling growth and purchasing power.
But the announcement came after months of yellow vest protests, sparked last November over plans to increase diesel prices and raise taxes on pensions. 
Macron announced a package of tax cuts and income top-ups worth 10 billion euros in December, following the first month of the protests.
And in April, the government announced new plans for fresh tax cuts, to be funded by axing corporate tax breaks, reducing public spending and introducing longer working hours.