Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Brought to Account

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Brought to Account

Article excerpt

Barely ten months after the presidential election, a scandal is threatening to engulf Francois Hollande and his Socialist government. The person responsible for the crisis is Jerome Cahuzac, who was the budget minister until his resignation on 19 March. Cahuzac, who was in charge of fighting tax evasion, was accused in December by Mediapart - an investigative website - of having used a secret Swiss bank account to avoid paying taxes in France.

On 2 April, Cahuzac finally admitted to a judge that he had hidden [euro]600,000 ([pounds sterling]510,000) offshore for more than 20 years. This seems to be the tip of the iceberg. According to the Swiss media, Cahuzac attempted to deposit [euro]15m ([pounds sterling]13m) in a Geneva-based bank account in 2009.

Cahuzac, a former plastic surgeon who specialised in hair transplants, comes from the self-professed neoliberal wing of the Path Socialiste. Arrogant and brisk with his colleagues, he belongs to a breed of Socialists who ignore virtually all the travails of the electorate that brought Hollande to power last year.

In government, Cahuzac was a zealous promoter of the harshest austerity policies that France has ever experienced. Here is a man who not only lectured the public about tax evasion yet now is under investigation for fraud, but who was also responsible for implementing unfair and pointless economic policies - such as the reduction of France's public deficit to 3 per cent of output. …

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