Fresh charge for French ex-minister in tax fraud

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PARIS: Former French Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac has been charged with a count of lying to the government in addition to his tax fraud charges, a judicial source said on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).

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Cahuzac, whose resignation in disgrace in March rocked President Francois Hollande’s Socialist government, met on Wednesday with magistrates investigating charges laid after he admitted to having secret foreign bank accounts.

The source said he was informed of the additional charge—of making an “incomplete or deceptive asset declaration as a member of the government”—at the meeting.

Once in charge of battling tax evasion and fraud, Cahuzac has admitted to repeatedly lying about overseas accounts in Switzerland and Singapore said to contain around 600,000 euros ($799,000).

He resigned from his post in March, was expelled from the Socialist Party and lost his parliamentary seat after the scandal came to light following an investigative media report.

The scandal shook France’s government and damaged the squeaky-clean image that Hollande had sought to project, less than a year after he was voted into office.

AFP

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