Posted by Wes Annac
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Photo: French Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac has resigned over allegations of tax evasion.Source: AAP
French Minister Resigns Over Bank Probe
From: AAP, The Australian – March 20, 2013
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 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 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 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 his case
did not interfere with or overshadow the functioning of the government
and reiterated that he was “innocent of the slanderous allegations made
Cahuzac has repeatedly insisted he has never had an offshore account
and had denied that his voice figures on the incriminating tape.
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