The French budget minister’s secret Swiss bank account
After four months of adamant denials in public and before parliament that he possessed a secret bank account abroad, former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac, who was forced to stand down from his government post during the developing scandal, finally admitted to holding the account on April 2nd 2013. Mediapart’s investigations, which first revealed the existence of the tax-evading account, found that Cahuzac had secretly begun transferring his wealth abroad as of the early 1990s. But there was more to the story than that. These are the documents that supported Mediapart’s revelations.
Between 1992 and 1993, and before he created his consultancy firm ‘Cahuzac Conseil’, Jérôme Cahuzac began offering his services to pharmaceutical companies. He began a lucrative role as a lobbyist for drugs firms just months after leaving his senior post at the French health ministry where he was responsible for the market authorisations of medicines. His name is cited on a document from a company called PR International listing payments made to “suppliers” during the tax year 1992-93. PR International was run by Cahuzac’s friend Daniel Vial, a high-profile lobbyist for pharmaceutical companies in France, and notably the lobbying of government departments, whose clients at the time included Glaxo, Servier, Innothera and Bayer. According to the PR International document of payments obtained by Mediapart, Cahuzac received 29,650 French francs for his services.
Document first revealed online 08.02.2013 (à mettre dans la colonne de gauche)
While a judicial investigation was opened while he was still budget minister into Cahuzac’s suspected “laundering of the proceeds of tax evasion”, the fiscal administration of which he was head began questioning whether he had omitted information on his personal tax return statements. The document published here shows that the tax inspectors led a detailed investigation into Cahuzac’s statement concerning his liability to the wealth tax, including doubts that he had undervalued property he owned.
- Related article: French fiscal authorities query budget minister’s tax returns
In response to Jérôme Cahuzac’s repeated and vehement denials of Mediapart’s disclosure of his possession of a secret Swiss bank account, it published an audio recording made in 2000 in which he can be heard discussing the account with his wealth and investment manager, Hervé Dreyfus. “What bothers me is that I still have an account open with UBS”, Cahuzac can be heard saying. Throughout the conversation, Cahuzac appears to be notably troubled by the idea that he would have to make a visit in person to Switzerland in order to remove his name from the UBS account list. ’’My signature is needed […] It’s a real pisser. It needs going there. Me, I can’t go there, I don’t see what can be done.” He then adds: “It pisses me off to have an account open there. UBS is not necessarily the most hidden of banks.”