Court jails French ex-minister for fraud

Former budget minister Jerome Cahuzac convicted on charges of 'extraordinary and rare seriousness'

Court jails French ex-minister for fraud

World Bulletin / News Desk

A French court convicted a former budget minister of fraud and handed him a jail sentence on Thursday.

Jerome Cahuzac received a three-year jail term. His ex-wife and co-defendant, dermatologist Patricia Menard, received a two-year term.

The Paris court said the pair committed irregularities "of extraordinary and rare seriousness".

Cahuzac, 63, a cosmetic surgeon by trade, had been tasked with leading President Francois Hollande’s campaign against wealthy tax-avoiders shortly after he was elected in 2012.

The scandal emerged in December 2012 when the Mediapart news website broke the story.

For months Cahuzac denied the allegations on major television stations and solemnly vowed in the National Assembly that he had no secret bank accounts.

He was backed by Hollande throughout until April 2013 -- a month after a formal investigation was launched -- when he made a sudden confession, saying he was “consumed by remorse”.

Cahuzac was accused of concealing at least 687,000 euros ($766,000) in income from the tax authorities between 2009 and 2012 and laundering money through Swiss and Singaporean bank accounts as well as dummy companies in Panama and the Seychelles from 2003 to 2013.

Menard, 60, also had 2.5 million euros ($2.8 million) of undeclared assets from her business in accounts in Switzerland, the U.K. and the Isle of Man.

Cahuzac and Menard have already paid 2.3 million euros ($2.6 million) in back taxes.

Last Mod: 08 Aralık 2016, 15:59
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