Budget Minister Cahuzac Resigns Following Tax Fraud Accusations

Budget Minister Jerôme Cahuzac. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Cyclotron

Budget Minister Jerôme Cahuzac.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Cyclotron

French Budget Minster Jérôme Cahuzac resigned Tuesday, March 19 after prosecutors announced they were going to begin investigating Mr. Cahuzac for tax fraud.  A crusader against tax evasion, particularly by means of international bank accounts, Cahuzac has been accused of doing just that with a Swiss bank account.  The controversy has been swirling since January with Cahuzac denying that there is any truth to the allegations, and despite the minister’s abrupt departure from his office, Cahuzac continues to maintain his innocence.

Both the Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, and the President, François Hollande, came to Cahuzac’s defense after formally accepting his resignation.  In a statement given by a spokesperson for Hollande, the President thanked Cahuzac for his service, “talent and competence,” and his decision to resign in order to “better defend his honor.” Ayrault also commented that Cahuzac had decided to leave his post in order to better prepare his legal defense rather than to save face for Hollande’s government.

The scandal originated back in January when website, Mediapart, came forward with claims that Cahuzac had kept a secret bank account in Switzerland with UBS for 20 years until closing it in 2010, just before becoming head of the parliamentary finance commission in February of that year.  The website produced a recording of a phone conversation they claim to be between Cahuzac and his aide where the two discuss potential concerns about a UBS bank account that transferred funds to Singapore.

Cahuzac insists that he never had such a conversation or has ever had a foreign bank account.  He is launching a defamation suit against Mediapart in response to these claims.  This is the first internal scandal to rock Hollande’s government and at present, the effects it will have on Hollande’s public opinion is still unclear.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: