France’s Socialist government has promised to publish details of individual ministers’ assets next week as it scrambled to stem a deepening scandal over a former budget minister’s secret foreign bank account.
Jerome Cahuzac quit in March and was last week placed under formal investigation for alleged tax fraud as he acknowledged he had been caught “in a spiral of lies” over his previous denials of holding a Swiss bank account.
The affair risks upsetting president François Hollande’s economic reform effort, with even left-wing allies criticising his handling of the scandal. Mr Hollande’s opinion poll ratings are already at record lows for his failure to tackle unemployment.
The Cahuzac affair has dealt a grave blow to a ten-month-old government that Mr Hollande had promised would be beyond reproach. Weekend surveys found three-quarters of the public view most politicians and elected officials as corrupt.
Swiss RTS TV reported on Sunday that Mr Cahuzac had sought to transfer €15 million from one Swiss account to another – far more than the €600,000 he said last week he had in an undeclared foreign account.