French ministers forced to declare financial assets after scandal


French former Budget minister Jerome Cahuzac arrives at the financial pole in Paris, on April 2, 2013. Cahuzac, who resigned on March 19, was being heard by investigating judges on April 2, 2013.


Martin Bureau

GENEVA, Switzerland - French government ministers have been forced to declare all of their financial assets amidst a scandal involving former budget minister Jerome Cahuzac.

Cahuzac, who resigned last month, admitted to having a secret bank account despite earlier denials.

He is said to have held the secret accounts for two decades.

The news is a blow to President Hollande who has vowed to cut out corruption and tax dodging as austerity measures were implemented to reduce France's deficit.

Hollande pledged to make all wealth declarations by government officials public by April 15.

Cahuzac was put under formal investigation last week with French magistrates pressing preliminary charges against him.

Cahuzac admitted to having about 600,000 euros ($769,000) in the account, which will be repatriated (and taxed) to France.

It is unclear whether the money is currently in Switzerland or in Singapore.

"I got caught up in a web of lies and found myself entangled in it," the 60-year-old Cahuzac said in a statement.

"I am devastated by remorse."