Things may just have got worse for the French presidentby Jonathan Derbyshire / June 24, 2013 / Leave a comment
In the current issue of Prospect, I’ve written a short note to accompany Christine Ockrent’s excellent essay about the travails of François Hollande. I discuss the scandal that consumed Hollande’s former budget minister, Jérôme Cahuzac, who was forced to resign in April this year after it emerged that he’d kept the existence of a bank account in Switzerland containing more than €600,000 a secret from the French tax authorities.
Although Hollande acted swiftly once Cahuzac resigned, launching legislation designed to “re-moralise” public life, I suggest that he still has “much to fear” from the affair. A parliamentary inquiry into the way the government handled it began in May, and it has already caused the president some embarrassment. Last week, an Elysée Palace aide, Alain Zabulon, told the inquiry that Hollande had been briefed about Cahuzac’s financial affairs on 15 December (nine days after the story first broke on the website Mediapart) but that his office had chosen not to take the matter further.