Former French budget minister jailed in tax fraud scandal arising from Panama Papers revelations .
Jerome Cahuzac, the former French budget minister, was sentenced to three years in prison. He received this sentence for hiding offshore bank accounts for more than 20 years. The offshore bank accounts were used to conceal his wealth and to avoid paying taxes.
Even though he was a tax evader himself, Cahuzac focused heavily on fighting against tax evaders while he was the budget minister. In 2013 the hypocrite stepped down from his position. He did this after admitting to having illegal foreign accounts over 20 years!
Cahuzac confessed that he owned banks accounts in both Singapore and Switzerland. Though he had repeatedly denied them in the past. The first evidence of the bank accounts came from an investigative website called Mediapart. They were the first to accuse the budget minister. It was not until an investigation in 2013 that Cahuzac admitted the truth and resigned.
This scandal was a huge embarrassment for former French President Francois Hollande because he appointed Cahuzac as budget minster. During his administration Hollande “made fighting tax evasion among the wealthy a priority” says the BBC. To have a member of his administration commit this very crime caused much outrage. Cahuzac even led a government crackdown on tax evasion during his term.
Over $600,000 was found in Cahuzac’s Swiss account. As a result, Geneva bank Reyl was fined € 1.8 million (about $2 million) for keeping this bank account secret. Banker Francois Reyl was fined €375,000 (about $430,000). Patricia Menard, Cahuzac’s ex-wife was also sentenced to jail for 2 years. She played a part in hiding money in offshore bank accounts.
On May 4, 2018 Cahuzac received a sentence of 4 years in prison with two years suspended for tax fraud and money laundering.
ICIJ – The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.