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Hollande announces sweeping measures to ‘moralize French public life” and banks

Wednesday, April 10th 2013 - 16:14 UTC
Full article 4 comments
“I won't hesitate to consider as a tax haven any country that refuses to co-operate fully with France”, pledged Hollande “I won't hesitate to consider as a tax haven any country that refuses to co-operate fully with France”, pledged Hollande

French President Francois Hollande has called for “eradication” of the world's tax havens and told French banks they must declare all of their subsidiaries. He was speaking after presenting a draft law aimed at “moralising” French public life - a response to the tax scandal that has shaken his presidency.

France's ex-Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac has been charged with fraud over a secret Swiss bank account.

Hollande said a new central agency would fight fraud and corruption. Earlier the French Socialist government set a deadline of 15 April for ministers to declare their assets, as part of the new transparency drive.

Mr Cahuzac admitted last week that he had hidden about 600,000 Euros in a Swiss bank account, causing shock in France. He has now been expelled from the Socialist Party for lying about his financial affairs.

Addressing a news conference on Wednesday, Hollande said “tax havens must be eradicated in Europe and worldwide”.

“I won't hesitate to consider as a tax haven any country that refuses to co-operate fully with France.”

He said French banks “will have to publish every year the full list of their subsidiaries in the world, country by country”. They will also have to explain their business, he said.

“In other words it won't be possible for a bank to hide transactions carried out in a tax haven.”

Hollande said a new national specialist prosecutor would act on cases of fraud and corruption. In addition, “a high-level authority will be created to monitor the assets and interests of ministers, members of parliament, top elected officials”, he said.

A list of banned professions for politicians will be drawn up, to prevent conflicts of interest.

Referring to the disgraced minister Jerome Cahuzac, he said “the judiciary is on the case - it will have to give its judgement”. He said Cahuzac should not return to the lower house, the National Assembly.

“This is, I think, a question of conscience. How can someone return to the parliament where a lie was told?” Hollande said.

The Cahuzac affair comes on top of other scandals: the conviction of former president Jacques Chirac, the New York court case that wrecked the career of former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the Bettencourt investigation, in which former president Nicolas Sarkozy is suspected of party funding violations.

French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici wrote to the European Commission at the weekend calling for a greater exchange of banking information across Europe, to fight tax evasion.

There are also calls for a government reshuffle and in some quarters a new Sixth Republic. (BBC).-

Categories: Politics, International.

Top Comments

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  • Anglotino

    France is sounding so American. You are either with us or against us.

    Ridding the world of tax havens will not fix France if France keeps spending more tax than it earns.

    Apr 10th, 2013 - 08:11 pm 0
  • Baxter

    Poor guy , seems to be in trouble ! If he took the time to read the annual reports of French banks he would find a full list of all subsidiaries in the world . At least that happens in the UK . And against tax havens !

    Apr 10th, 2013 - 08:33 pm 0
  • Condorito

    France needs Maggie!

    Apr 10th, 2013 - 09:44 pm 0
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